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Mayor Karácsony criticized for his poor English

May 15th, 2021

In a series of reactions to Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony’s admission that he often uses an interpreter as his English is not good enough to participate in international negotiations, commentators state that fluency in English is a must in international relations.

On Mandiner, Dániel Kacsoh wonders how Mayor Karácsony could be a trailblazer for progressive liberal ideas without speaking English. Kacsoh finds it even stranger that Gergely Karácsony could teach at the Corvinus University as an adjunct, and later as an assistant professor. (Mr Karácsony passed a non-accredited advanced language test at the Corvinus University to get his MA degree.) He doubts if the Mayor of Budapest can create a good image of himself if he needs an interpreter all the time. If Karácsony really thinks that expertise is important in politics, he should step down from all his political positions, Kacsoh concludes.

On Azonnali, Balázs Karóczkai and Ágoston Renczes quote diplomats and other experts to claim that even those politicians who speak English at a high level use interpreters to make sure that they do not miss anything. But, citing others, they also acknowledge that in more informal and everyday settings, English knowledge is essential in diplomacy.