PM Orbán won’t pick up the gauntlet thrown by Iohannis

Now is not the time to pick up the gauntlet thrown at Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said today in a radio interview on the national radio station, Kossuth Rádió. His comment came as a reply to being asked about the inflammatory statement made by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis that was released on Thursday.

“I will wait a bit for the situation to clear up so we can understand what really happened,” Orbán continued in a conciliatory tone, “if these were just incorrect statements, or the sign of actual bad intentions manifested in incorrect statements.”

The PM was referring to Iohannis accusing the ethnic Hungarian minority in Transylvania, the Social Democratic Party and the prime minister himself of plotting to give Transylvania to Hungary in a two-minute video statement released by the President’s Office.

“It is incredible what kind of agreements are being reached in the Romanian Parliament,” Iohannis said, “while we, myself, the government and the other authorities are fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the Romanian Social Democrat Party, the big Romanian Social Democrat Party, is fighting in secret parliamentary offices to give Transylvania to the Hungarians.” In the opening of his statement, he even addressed the PSD in Hungarian, saying “Jó napot kívánok, PSD!” (Good day, PSD).

While the president’s speech has already sparked a diplomatic row between the two neighboring countries, which are both members of the European Union as well as NATO allies, and part of the message was directed at Orbán, the Hungarian PM called for calm.

“Good day Ciolacu!” Iohannis said, again in Hungarian, “What did the leader from Budapest, Viktor Orbán, promise you in exchange for this agreement?”

Orbán’s reaction was to remind listeners of this morning’s interview that both sides were interested in the best possible cooperation and bilateral relations.

“I wouldn’t suggest that we change our current policy,” Orbán said. “If forced, we will of course pick up the gauntlet, but I don’ suggest we pick up the gauntlet now thrown at our feet.”

Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (otherwise known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ) and PSD President Marius Ciolacu both vehemently denounced Iohannis’ baseless accusation and stated that the President was inciting hatred. They also asked him to apologize.

Title image: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (MTI)

Author: Dénes Albert