Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

NEWS IN SHORT

Hungary's speaker sparks outrage

COMMENTS by the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér, have prompted an angry backlash in Slovakia.

COMMENTS by the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér, have prompted an angry backlash in Slovakia.

Kövér, in an interview published by the Czech Hospodářské Noviny daily during his visit to the Czech Republic in early June, said that Hungarians in Slovakia need not respect the 1919 Paris Peace Treaty that ended World War I. He also stated that Slovakia had moved its border with Hungary when building the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros dam and that Hungary could have legitimately responded with military force.

Kövér said as well that all Slovak politicians have a piece of nationalist Ján Slota inside them and that they could use a little bit more self-consciousness.

The Hungarian official’s statements outraged the opposition Smer party, with its leaders and MPs immediately calling on the government to react with a démarche and to take immediate steps toward designing a strategy for the defence of Slovak national interests in relation to Hungary.

Smer’s Marek Maďarič, the former culture minister, said the statements dishonour Slovakia, ignore the verdict of an international court (a reference to the International Court of Justice’s ruling in Slovakia’s favour in the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros dam case 14 years ago), and imply that the use of military force against Slovakia is justified. He blamed the current Slovak government’s foreign policy.

“It's quite clear that Hungary interprets our silence not as empathy but as weakness,” Maďarič said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry rejected the criticism and on June 8 Richard Sulík, the Slovak Speaker of Parliament, held a press briefing to condemn the statements made by his Hungarian counterpart. He said Kövér was lying and had dishonoured Slovak citizens. Sulík especially criticised Kövér’s statements about the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros dam.

“This statement is outrageous,” Sulík said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “Threatening military intervention or even mentioning it in light of the friendly relations between the two countries is something that has no place in the vocabulary of good neighbours.”

Sulík said he understands Kövér’s statements as an attempt to distract attention from what he called the international isolation of Hungary and the country’s unfortunate economic situation.

Sulík added, however, that although he found it necessary to react to the statements, which he believes are lies, he does not believe that the Slovak government should act in response to Kövér’s statements and the best solution would be to pay them no more attention.


Top stories

End of investigative show a cause for concern

Media freedom watchdogs believe the scrapping of the only investigative show on public-service television is a threat to its independence.

Jaroslav Rezník

Proxy for Roma criticises minister Kaliňák for ethnical and group discrimination

The government proxy slammed Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák for the draft law on repressing criminality in Roma settlements, for populist discrimination and preferring repression to prevention.

Roma communities, illustrative stock photo

Slovak racer Svitko finished at Dakar Video

After a serious fall in the tenth leg, Slovak motorcyclist Štefan Svitko resigned from the 40th year of the Dakar Rally due to pain in his upper body.

Štefan Svitko

Carmakers in Slovakia produced more than one million cars last year

2018 will be critical for Slovakia’s automotive industry, claim sector’s representatives.

Most cars produced in Slovakia head for export.