“There are governments in Europe that stand on the side of immigration, and there is the Hungarian government which has made it clear that it will not allow illegal immigrants into Hungary. We stand on the side of security. This irreconcilable opposition will remain in the coming times because we’re not going to retreat and those on the other side are probably not going to say that Hungary is right.”
Thus spoke Hungary’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, in an interview published Monday by pro-government daily Magyar Hirlap,
The foreign minister’s statements came in the wake of a diplomatic row with the Netherlands over comments made last week by outgoing Dutch ambassador to Hungary, Gajus Scheltema, criticizing Hungary’s media landscape, government attacks on civil society, the Hungarian government’s propaganda campaigns and anti-EU rhetoric, corruption and a “Marxist worldview” that dominates the nation’s politics. Scheltema’s comments, which appeared in liberal print weekly 168óra, prompted Szijjártó to recall Hungary’s ambassador to the Netherlands, and the suspension of ambassadorial-level relations with the fellow EU member state.
In the interview with Magyar Hirlap, Szijjártó listed numerous other foreign politicians who have criticized policies of the Fidesz government, pointing out that none of them had remained in power. According to the foreign minister “there are a couple of examples in the past which show that Hungary getting wrapped up in other nations’ affairs, and the constant criticism and pestering of Hungary, might not pay off.”
Szijjártó insisted that he is conducting the kind of foreign policy which exclusively promotes Hungarian interests, claiming “we are not willing to be cowed by anyone who doesn’t respect the 1,000-year-old Hungarian state.”