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Should PM Orbán apologise?

May 23rd, 2013

In its first comment on the Prime Minister’s remark cautioning Germany “not to send the tanks in again”, the leading left-wing daily thinks Mr Orbán hurt Chancellor Merkel in her re-election-campaign, by providing the German Social-Democrats with arguments against her, for “cherishing such a snake in her bosom”.

Several leading government officials have reiterated that it was not Angela Merkel Viktor Orbán had in mind when he warned against “sending German cavalry in”, meaning that some of the German criticism of Hungary was too sharp. The Prime Minister famously said ”we have already had their cavalry here, in the form of tanks, and it did not work out well”. See BudaPost, May 22.

In its front page story, Népszabadság admits that it was a gross misrepresentation on the part of most of the German press to claim that Mr Orbán compared Merkel to Hitler. Nevertheless, Népszabadság notes that before his statement, the Prime Minister was aware of Ms Merkel’s critical remarks about Hungary and believes that he must have been irritated by them. He may have had Ms Merkel’s opponent in mind when cautioning against “sending German cavalry to Hungary”, but he hurt Ms Merkel, the very person who has defended him against Brussels hawks, personally guaranteeing that Hungary would keep its legislation in line with European standards. The front page story continues with an article by Népszabadság’s Fidesz-correspondent Ildikó Csuhaj, who ponders on the day of the EU summit, how Mr Orbán must feel there, and whether it would not be wise to apologise to the Chancellor and thereby cut short this unfortunate story. Her Fidesz sources suggest that the Prime Minister’s staff was undecided on whether an apology was appropriate or not. Some felt that would be the correct course of action, while others suggested that “that would not be like Mr Orbán”.

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