Reuniting Europe

Have you seen the Hungarian Presidency carpet in the Council building in Brussels, hosting the ministers’ and EU leaders regular meetings?

Here it is, I made the photo yesterday:

The centrepiece is a map of the Habsburg empire from 1848, known at that period as Austrian empire, and later, from 1867 to 1918, as Austria-Hungary.

What I notice is that people entering the Council building always stop there and try to figure out what Hungary wants to say. Some remember that Hungary has recently adopted a citizenship law, which had sparked angry reactions in neighbouring Slovakia. Maybe Hungary dreams of other borders?

At the same time, Estonia, who adopted the euro on 1 January 2011, infuriated Russia, because on its national side of the euro coins, the country’s map depicted apparently grabs territory from its big neighbour.

Estonia commented that the reverse side of the euro coins is the painter’s artistic perception of Estonia’s borders.

Something similar was said to me by a Hungarian spokesperson regarding the Hungarian carpet map.

It’s art, guys, if you don’t understand art, you better don’t make a fool of yourselves!

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  1. Can you Imagine the result, if Germany should make a carpet with the 1941 map of the Third Reich? Me not, because Germany is a modern democratic european country, but the Orbanistan is authocrative anti-liberal system comparable only with the country system of Belarus.

  2. David Korosi didn’t get the sarcasm of the article. I’m Hungarian, so I know it from the inside that Trianon is a raw wound for Hungarians, still. It’s painful for Hungarians to watch how “lesser nations” ruled by them for centuries are now ahead economically. Populist politicians use nationalism and revisionism as a diversion technique from harsh economic realities. The number of Hungarians living in neighboring countries is shrinking, mainly because being and staying Hungarian is no longer attractive for those who have that choice. And so demoralized Hungarians, always good at melancholy, look back and seek refuge in their romanticized past, missing yet another chance for stepping forward.

  3. Call me blind but i don`t see the inaccuracy of the Estonian coin…
    About the carpet though….Is there a map of nowadays hungary on it as well? It is not very clear from any of the photos. But if there isn`t… Well, this is the picture: Slovakia just got rid of a government that housed an ultra-nationalist party and its hungarian twin won 16.6% in the last elections (despite not making the government that`s more than 1/6 of all voters ). Both countries have their own pseudo-militaristic units (Slovak Brotherhood and Hungarian Guard Movement) whose looks and ideas kinda remind one of Hitler`s infamous SA. Both of these groups are, among other things, anti-(the other country). Some of the top politicians from both countries like to shout about “taking Budapest with tanks”/ “restoring of the Great Hungary” respectively. These politicians also like to use (their own version of) history whenever they feel they need more votes – Hungarians talking about the criminality of Trianon Treaty, Slovaks countering with stories of thousand-years long oppression of Slovaks by the late Empire. The official relations between Slovakia and Hungary are strained at best. In this situation usage of 1848 map of Hungary is not too diplomatic indeed – not only towards Slovakia but Romania and Croatia as well. This indicates that the artist and the politicians who okey-ed the carpet are being either foolish or deliberately provocative. I personally hope for the former.
    @David Korosi: Naturally, remembering past and living in it are two different things. However, the fact that Slovak history is closely tied with Hungarian history doesn`t change the fact that Slovakia (just like all the other countries that once belonged to Hungarian Empire) has history. Your comment is exactly the kind of derisive drivel mentionned above that politicians like to use because it`s sure way to raise tempers on both sides of Danube.

  4. I do not understand why the dual citizenship is a problem? In Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia treated like second best citizens, they limited in their language usage and autonomy a swear word in these so democratic countries besides even physical attacks are daily in Slovakia and Serbia. In minority rights Romania and even Ukraine(!) is more ahead the two others.

  5. If we do not remember our past and learn by it, we are bound to repeat our mistakes in the future. I for one like that carpet.

  6. @Zalievana, seems that you completely misunderstood what I wrote.

    #1: There’s nothing in a historic map, even if the current shape of Hungary is not shown (I don’t know if it is, or not! But whatever.).
    #2: I wish all the countries of the Union would freely express their past. This is a great way to get to know the other member states.
    #3: a carpet makes half of the Carpathian Basin cry… that’s simply ridiculous. It’s time to not to see irredentism behind so many things.
    #4: I didn’t say, I didn’t even think of Slovakians don’t have a past. You do. Refrain from nationalism, but do show it to us. Just like we do to you guys.
    +1: I feel sorry for Hungarian rock music is not presented. We have great rock bands. 🙂

    That carpet is about history.


  7. The carpet would be about history if there were no issues about what should the current map look like. Letting the world know about one`s history is all good and nice and right. However, using a hisotrical map that denies the existence of a country or nation as your official representation is just wrong. (The map does – it had been the official politics of that time) I do not think the carpet is about history because those who made it and those who passed it had known very well that it would cause an outcry. I mean, if UK decided to use a pre-WW1 map as its official representation the Irish would not be too happy either. It is just the kind of thing you do not do if you do not want to provoke.

  8. Zalievana, after your latest comment it’s hard to say anything. You should get rid of your obsessions and be welcome to the real world.

    History remains history, even if you don’t like that.

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