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Hungarian ambassador objects to Kalniete’s and Pabriks’ public opinions

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUHungarian ambassador to the Republic of Latvia Adrien Müller has reflected on the statements made by MEPs Sandra Kalniete and Artis Pabriks in interviews in relation to the political situation in Hungary and its effect on Latvia.

BNN had previously reported with reference to LETA about MEP Sandra Kalniete’s opinion about the situation in Hungary: «The current political situation in Hungary is an example of just how fragile and easily manipulated democracy is in Central Europe, Baltics and elsewhere in the world».

In response to Kalniete’s statement, Hungarian ambassador in Latvia says: «I would like to say to everyone that democracy in Hungary is far from fragile. Hungary truly believes in democracy. People bravely fought for freedom even under conditions of soviet totalitarian regime in 1956, when words spoken against the system could cost people their lives. Modern Hungarians actively and openly express their political views. Political debates in Hungary are hot and active, which is how things should be in a democracy. Media focus is multi-sided and there are different political opinions available.»

Continuing, she adds that parties that form the current government in Hungary were elected and re-elected with majority of votes after working in the opposition for eight years. «The government has made major results stabilizing state funding, maintaining low inflation, security economic growth, reducing unemployment, supporting families and performing other important support measures. The political and democratic choice made by voters has to be respected and political results – accepted without double standards,» says the ambassador.

Kalniete previously told BNN that she does not understand why it is necessary to use drastic means in the interest of a single party that hold constitutional majority. «Consequent realization of such measures basically creates the impression that a base is being built for a new jump further away from traditional norms of democracy,» she said.

Hungarian ambassador mentioned in her statement: «Latvian politicians express their opinion and criticize Hungary, and I listen carefully to what they say, because such statements are important for forming society’s opinion».

Wanting to comment on opinions after EP debates, the ambassador said: «Responses to most questions during EP debates were provided by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. He said no one threatens academic or education freedom in Hungary. Statements like that are untrue, he said. Changes to the so-called Central European University Law do not apply to this specific institution. Those are amendments to the Higher Education Law. Their goal is to prevent advantages and secure equal requirements for all of Hungary’s universities and all 28 foreign universities present in Hungary.»

«Secondly, statements that suggest Hungarian government allegedly wishes to take over NGOs are misleading. The parliament is currently busy reviewing amendments to the NGO Law. The goal of those amendments is securing greater transparency. This proposal was developed based on American Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law is meant to state that NGOs are obligated to inform society about funding they receive from foreign countries,» says the ambassador.

«I am confident that this goal requires no detailed explanations here, in Latvia. Hungarian government remains, as it has been in the past, open for dialogue and talks with European Commission to put worries to rest, reach an understanding and comply with EU requirements,» Müller said.

It should be said that Latvian MEP Artis Pabriks is confident that Hungary’s and other countries’ examples show a problem when populism, joined with anti-European policy, weakens the European Union and Latvia’s national interests.

Hungary’s ambassador in Latvia comments on Pabriks’ opinion by saying: «As it has been mentioned many times, Hungary favours a strong Europe. Hungary is a reliable and strong ally of Latvia’s. We cooperate in many different fields, of which I would like to mention two. First of all, Hungary’s efforts to secure full control over external borders with full respect of Schengen Zone rules protect all of the European Union from uncontrolled migration flow.»

In conclusion she said: «Secondly, participation of Hungarian soldiers in NATO operation in Latvia and Baltic States is clear proof of our commitment to provide safety to this region. Statements that suggest Hungary may wish to weaken Latvia’s national interests are untrue and unjustified. Hungary was and remains a reliable ally to Latvia.»


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