Daniel Cohn-Bendit

Napoleon in the corridor

Interview with Hungarian newspaper Vasárnapi Hírek on 30/01/2011 

Hungarian journalist Dorka Horvath questioned Daniel Cohn-Bendit on his views of Hungary's Prime Minister Orban. Dany explains his strong criticism of Orban's media law. Read more...
“Dany the Red”, who is rather green today, welcomes me in his office with a fatherly smile. However, his eyes have not changed at all. The same passion like in the pictures made during the student protest in Paris in 1968. From the romantic revolutionary vision, a poster has tumbled down from above the group leader’s chair which says “Europe: war with France”. This is the bittersweet humour of the French-German group leader. Who wants harsh words and assertive thoughts from the co-chairman of the green group may find them in Cohn-Bendit’s office.
 
First of all, I have to tell you that you are nowadays fantastically popular in Hungary! A real superhero on the liberal side, but also the devil on the radical right wing!  Is this situation uncomfortable for you? 
 Of course not. That’s my life. One wing always deems that I declared something which has been hidden deeply by them. The other wing does not believe any of my words. But how can I beseem to everyone? The party-cronies of Fidesz do not like me, and Farage’s people neither. They do not like those who do not praise them. I do not belong to those. By the way it is interesting that in Tunisia, similarly to Hungary, a small group also share my views and like my youtube videos.
 
You are not alone, because Mr. Orban has also a dual roll. He is a patriot, who has protected his own nation. And on the other hand he discredited himself with his aggressive style. What do you think about that? 
 Listen, Mr. Orban in the plenary, without any equivocal phrases, harshly stated that he is not interested in Europe. He is not willing to deal with the opinion of Europe. He wanted to show to everyone how to protect a nation professionally. And of course how to protect himself, because we must not forget that he is Hungary per se. Did I misunderstand? I don’t think so. You know, there is no problem if somebody stands up for himself, but if somebody identifies himself with his country, it is entirely different. Orban simply misunderstood us in Strasbourg. Or he wanted to misunderstand us. We did not attack the country or the Hungarian people, but an antidemocratic law.
 
What is your personal opinion of Mr. Orban?
 You know, I did really like Mr Orban. He was a typical revolutionist. He was fighting against the communists for a free and democratic country. However, not only his views, but his behaviour and physics have totally transformed. I was watching him walking in the corridors of the parliament in Strasbourg. It was just like Napoleon, who took his country on his shoulders. As a matter of fact, it is fascinating.
 
What do you think, the Hungarian two-thirds majority is the real disturbing factor for Europe? Or where do you think the turning point between the democracy and the autocracy? 
 52% of the votes brought two-third majority to Mr. Orban. This is the fault of the Hungarian election law, which can be naturally criticized. For instance I hate the f
French one, and I like the German one. It is a good topic for debate. But the two-third majority is a political nightmare for me. My stance would be the same, if we, the greens, got two-third. Democracy and the abovementioned are incompatible. Balance is the key word in a democracy. If this fragile, but so important balance is missing in the legislation, danger which is beyond control would emerge in the heads of people.
 
What is the most important factor, which is needed nowadays in Hungary in that doubtful political situation?
 Hungary needs a democratic evolution.
text by: Dorka Horvath,  media: Sunday News / Vasárnapi Hírek