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Romania and Slovakia summon Hungary’s ambassadors

July 27th, 2023

Critics of the government believe PM Orbán’s remarks on Romania and Slovakia will not cause lasting trouble between those two neighbouring countries and Hungary.

Hungary’s Ambassador to Bucharest was summoned to the Romanian Foreign Ministry in reaction to PM Orbán’s remarks at the annual Fidesz festival at Băile Tușnad, Transylvania. The Prime Minister revealed a note by the Romanian side asking him not to talk at the event about ‘non-existing Romanian territorial units’, whereupon he said ‘we have never considered Transylvania and the Szeklerland Romanian administrative territorial units’. About Slovakia he deplored the failure of Hungarian minority parties to unite and get into Parliament ‘in a region torn-off from the country’. That expression was translated into Slovak as ‘a territory detached from the country’. The Hungarian Ambassador was told by the Slovak Foreign Ministry that Slovakia was not detached from Hungary, as both countries were heirs of the erstwhile Habsburg monarchy.

On ATV, former conservative Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky interpreted these developments as signs that Hungary’s already worrisome isolation has further deepened. The fate of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries, he remarked, depends on good relations between Hungary and those countries. It is of paramount importance, he continued, for those minorities to be considered by the leaders of the countries where they live as resources, rather than as sources of potential danger.

István Szent-Iványi, a liberal foreign affairs expert and former ambassador warned in the same programme that deteriorating relations with Romania and Slovakia would be extremely harmful for Hungary but believed that none of the sides seem to be aiming at creating lasting tensions in bilateral relations.

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