Slovakia’s foreign affairs minister, Miroslav Lajčák, has described recent statements made by former Hungarian prime minister and chairman of Hungary’s Fidesz opposition political party Viktor Orbán as ‘factually nonsensical, politically unfortunate and highly irresponsible’
Lajčák was responding to comments by Orbán on Saturday, May 23, in which he said that the forthcoming European Parliament elections will determine the “power of Hungarians in the European Parliament for the next five years”. Orbán also stressed the importance of ensuring that the interests of “Hungarians from the Carpathian Basin” be represented in Brussels, and noted that every ethnic-Hungarian in Slovakia will be watched “with expectation” by Hungarians living across the Slovak-Hungarian border.
The statements caused a stir on the Slovak political scene, with both Prime Minister Robert Fico and Anna Belousovová, the vice-chair of one of his partners in the governing coalition, the Slovak National Party (SNS), lambasting Orbán for his comments.
Lajčák, speaking to the TASR newswire, said the claims are factually nonsensical, for the EU is made up of democratic states and not of basins or any other geographical formations. Such statements are dangerous, since they may worsen relations between Slovakia and Hungary, as well as with other countries inhabited by a Hungarian minority.
He said Orbán's remarks are unfortunate, particularly in view of the fact that preparations for Fico’s planned visit to Budapest in June are under way and Hungary’s newly-appointed foreign affairs minister, Péter Balász, has spoken about opening a new chapter in relations between Hungary and Slovakia.
Lajčák also noted that Orbán is a member of Hungary’s parliamentary opposition, and said that his statements and views don’t express Hungary's official position. However, recent opinion polls in Hungary have indicated overwhelming support for Fidesz, and Orbán is strongly tipped to become prime minister again after national elections which must be held within a year. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
28. May 2009 at 10:00