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PM in Kazakhstan

April 3rd, 2015

Left-wing commentators lambast PM Orbán’s comments about ‘ancient ties’ between Kazakhs and Hungarians as opposed to Hungary’s place in the European Union “where we are politically equal but genealogically different”.

During his visit to Astana at the head of a 100 strong delegation of politicians and businessmen, PM Viktor Orbán announced that Hungary will join the (China-led) Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (following in Germanys and Frances footsteps). He praised the hosts for their countrys swift growth and also mentioned that the ancestors of the two peoples (probably) interacted around 500 AD. According to Kazinform, the official Kazakh news agency, his exact words were: “We are always glad to come to Kazakhstan. We are equal in political terms in the European Union, but genealogically we are different. When we go to Brussels we do not have any relatives there. But when we come to Kazakhstan we have close people here. It is a strange feeling for us but it is true. Therefore, Hungarian delegations always come to Kazakhstan with pleasure. Critics quote his speech on the basis of a translation through Russian, according to which he would have said it is a strange feeling but we have to come to the East in order to feel at home. In this version, genealogically different is translated as strangers as to our origin.

In Népszava, editor Péter Németh rejects the idea that we have to travel to the East in order to feel at home and that we are strangers in Europe. He wouldn’t mind if Mr Orbán chose the East as his home but “we would prefer to remain in Europe”.

In its front page editorial, Népszabadság interprets the Prime Minister’s words as a sign of his isolation in Europe. The main left-wing daily calls on Mr Orbán not to speak on behalf of all Hungarians, for “we are just as Hungarian as him and his whole company, but we do feel absolutely at home in Europe”.




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