Polish president only foreign dignitary to attend official commemoration of 1956 revolution

October 24, 2016

MTI photo: Koszticsák Szilárd
MTI photo: Koszticsák Szilárd

Events commemorating the October 23rd outbreak of the 1956 uprising were held around the world yesterday. The largest event was hosted by the Hungarian government in Kossuth Square, outside Parliament.

But how did the turnout of high-level foreign officials at the event match up against, say, the government’s October 23rd celebration in 2006? Not too well.

According to the Európa Kávézó blog, the number of high-level dignitaries at the 2006 commemoration was over twenty, whereas the event this year hosted a single foreign dignitary, President of Poland Andrzej Duda.

The 47 dignitaries who accepted the Gyurcsány government’s invitation to take part in 2006 included:

  1. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
  2. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, General Secretary of NATO
  3. Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State for the Vatican
  4. Juan Carlos I of Spain
  5. Harald V of Norway
  6. Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
  7. Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine
  8. Traian Basescu, President of Romania
  9. Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Prime Minister of Romania
  10. Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia
  11. Moritz Leuenberger, President of Switzerland
  12. Horst Köhler,  President of the Federal Republic of Germany
  13. Heinz Fischer, President of Austria
  14. Wolfgang Schüssel, Chancellor of Austria
  15. George Pataki, Governor of New York
  16. Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium
  17. Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic
  18. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia
  19. Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
  20. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
  21. Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of France
  22. Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of Holland.

Prime Minister Orbán’s close relationship with the president of Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, is noteworthy because the governments of both EU Member States have been heavily criticized for dismantling democratic institutions and undermining the rule of law in their own countries.

Hungary’s close relationship with Poland was a central feature of the speech delivered by the Hungarian Prime Minister.