Most fascinating about the sudden breakdown is that the three sides can't, or won't, even agree about who walked out and for what reason. The Hungarian government is insinuating, somewhat inconsistently but all the more insistently, that the main fault-line is between itself and the IMF (implying of course that the government--which uses a rhetoric vaguely reminiscent of the Third World revolutionary left of one-to-two generations earlier, only with a neo-conservative content) is "standing up to" the faceless forces of financial imperialism, etc.). The finance/economy minister has claimed that the era of Hungary's "financial independence" is approaching. No journalist asks the question of how that would be possible for a state whose internal market comprises no more than .1% of the world economy, and whose economy is estimated to be more than 75% foreign-owned.
For its part, the IMF appears to deny this and claims that it was a neutral party to the conflict. Were that true, the main clash would have taken place between the Hungarian government
- and the EU
Now, that brings us to a very interesting problem--and one that is at the heart of my book :-)--: Just what exactly is the relationship between the "center" of the European Union (commonly referred to as "Brussels") and the member states? Ultimately where is power located? Can the EU actually force the hand of a member state--especially in the case of a state that is not a member of the less-than-fully-common currency, the Euro? Would it try to do so? If it did, just by what means can it do that? If it does not, (i.e., if it refrains from disciplining one of its members, or if it fails to do so), how can the EU continue claiming to be a geopolitical player of a global sway? If it uses harsh methods to do so, what remains of the new claim of "soft power"?
To make things even more entertaining, of course the days of the Hungarian EU-presidency (an agenda-setting authority rotating among the member-states on a semiannual basis) are rapidly approaching.
//For more on the complexity of the relationship between "Brussels" and the member states, see my book, especially Chapter 4.//