Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
A small news on the Commissioner, a bigger one on the pro-Russia line and another on nuclear power.

Fidesz managed to sink to a new low on election day: the party leader orchestrating those illegal get-out-of-the-vote measures called police upon reporters trying to interview him, citing "harassment". For the international angle, enter European Commissioner Navracsics, who previously tried to fulfil Juncker's expectations with some unspecific criticism of the Orbán government. Now Navracsics undid that by rushing to defend the GOTV tsar, saying "there is nothing wrong with calling police for harassment". This is an apparent reaction to some in Fidesz who made him the culprit for not participating in the campaign.

Meanwhile, there was a long report claiming that, in spite of the recent Putin visit, Orbán is preparing to end his pro-Russia/eastward foreign policy in March. The sources claim that the main motivation wasn't the cold shoulder of the Americans or the meagre financial gains from the sought-for eastern creditors, but the isolation from Central European allies: both Romania and Poland made their displeasure over Orbán's line on Ukraine public, Poland weakened the Visegrád 4 with its medium-power and France-Poland-Germany-trio ambitions, and the Czech Republic and Slowakia joined up with Austria in the new Slavkov Triangle (see an assessment from Poland). (Note though that the article was based on interviews with several Atlanticists recently fired from the foreign ministry, and I for example struggle to believe that Orbán failed to foresee Polish displeasure with his line on Ukraine.)

The biggest result of Orbán's pro-Russia line was an agreement over a €12 billion credit from Russia for the construction of a new nuclear reactor by Rosatom. However, FT reported that both Euratom and the Commission's competition authority might deny approval for the deal. Meanwhile, the former environment minister (who was the last of Orbán's one-time comrades of the first hour to make way for a new crop of Orbán-loyalist yes-man yuppies, for opposing the nuclear deal) pointed out that modifications to fulfil upcoming EU safety requirements will boost the already massively over-priced €12 billion price tag further. Like the ex-minister, I think the plant will never be built.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 01:41:20 PM EST

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