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Trouble in store for Hungarian relations with post-Merkel Germany?

December 13th, 2021

Right-wing analysts fear that the new left-liberal German government will harshly criticize Hungary and try to encroach on national sovereignty. Left-wing commentators are less than certain that Germany will become more critical of Hungary than under Chancellor Merkel.

Magyar Nemzet’s László Szőcs fears that German-Hungarian relations will become more difficult. The pro-government columnist blames the Left’s victory on Angela Merkel, who, according to Szőcs, abandoned conservative values and embraced pro-immigration politics. The Scholz government continues along the same lines, and will also openly support gender theory and will try to create a United States of Europe, Szőcs suspects. He suggests that Annalena Baerbock, the new Green Foreign Minister, is likely to be an even stauncher critic of the Hungarian government than Chancellor Scholz.

In Magyar Hírlap, Péter G. Fehér also takes it for granted that the new German government and especially Foreign Minister Baerbock will try to teach Hungary and Poland a lesson. The pro-government commentator finds it alarming that German foreign policy will be determined by what he regards as a radical Green politician with no expertise. Fehér agrees with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s governing Law and Justice party that Annalena Baerbock’s main aim is to build a ‘Fourth Reich’.

Pesti Srácok’s Botond Bálint writes that ‘the new government in Berlin considers the whole of Europe as German Lebensraum’. The pro-government blogger opines that despite its strong economy, Germany has become the ‘sick man of Europe’ due to demographic decline and a societal one resulting from mass immigration. Bálint thinks that Germany, ‘guided by a sense of superiority’, will dominate Europe and make other nations its colony by imposing on them its LMBTQ and pro-Islamic ideology. Bálint goes so far as to predict that in this endeavours, the new German government will behave as vehemently as Hitler did.

Mandiner’s Dániel Kacsoh also criticizes the German government’s ‘hyper progressive’ vision to federalize Europe and its commitment to LGBTQ rights. The pro-government blogger suggests that the new German government wants to rule Europe again – though this time in pursuit of different values than earlier in the 20th century. Kacsoh finds it particularly sad that Hungary’s opposition parties cherish the values of the new German government, and welcome its efforts to weaken Hungary’s national sovereignty.

Népszava’s András Vas finds nauseating a suggestion by Fidesz vice-president Szilárd Németh that under the new German government, Hungary has to face challenges similar to those in 1944. Németh, who also serves as undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence, said that the new German government wants to eliminate national identity, destroy families and Christian values, transform Europe into a land of migrants, and create a new Reich in Europe by stripping nation states of their sovereignty. Vas deems it particularly tasteless, as well as absurd, to liken the democratically elected government of Hungary’s main economic partner to the Nazi Germany that invaded Hungary in 1944 and killed hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews ‘with the active assistance of the Hungarian authorities’.

Writing in the same daily, Tamás Rónay cautions the Hungarian government against striking a combative tone with the new German government. Anti-German conspiracy theories may deceive Hungarian voters, but they are also likely to irritate the German government and make it even more determined to push for EU funds to Hungary to be cut, the left-wing analyst warns.

In 168 Óra, Richard Szentpéteri Nagy wonders if the new German government will actually become more active in defending democratic values and fighting corruption in Hungary. The left-wing columnist worries that there has been a tacit deal between Germany and the Hungarian government. As long as the Hungarian government offers subsidies to German factories operating in the country, the German government and voters close one eye to the corruption and democratic decline in Hungary, he believes. Szentpéteri Nagy thinks that the new German government may be more willing to intervene in defence of democracy, but even if it decides to do so, it would be too late, since the Orbán government, he suggests, has successfully turned Hungarians against Europe ‘while robbing European taxpayers’.

In an interview with Inforádió,on the other hand, former ambassador to Berlin Gergely Prőhle deems a U-turn in German foreign policy unlikely. Prőhle thinks that Chancellor Scholz will follow his predecessor’s pragmatism, and despite the new government’s progressive values, Germany will tone down radical ideological demands. Concerning German-Hungarian relations, Prőhle is optimistic that the Scholz government will consider maintaining good economic relations as its priority.



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