Angela Merkel will come to Hungary to participate in the 30th anniversary of the ‘Pan-European Picnic,’ a landmark event that paved the way for the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany, at the invitation of Prime Minister Orbán, Népszavareports.
The newspaper’s government sources claim that the office of the German Chancellor has already confirmed Merkel’s acceptance of the invitation. However, according to diplomatic sources, due to the tentative nature of the German office’s answer to the invitation, the chancellor’s visit to Hungary remains uncertain.
This theory is reinforced by Politico’s intel from last month: “Merkel’s office declined the request from Budapest, in part, insiders say, in order to avoid the appearance of endorsing Orbán before the European election.” However, they added that the politician is “set to visit Hungary to commemorate the anniversary later in the summer,” after the elections.
According to Népszava, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation – which has close ties to CDU – will organize a remembrance event in Sopron on 9 August and Merkel’s participation would simply be logical.
ATV asked the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government about the status of the Chancellor’s visit, to which it replied that there has been no official announcement confirming her participation. The office explained that it always informs the public of Merkel’s programs in a timely fashion, typically the Friday prior to the event in question, adding:
We can confirm that we are in discussion with the Hungarian party about the way of commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Iron Curtain.
The Pan-European Picnic was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungarian border near Sopron, Hungary on 19 August 1989, the day before the Hungarian holiday commemorating Stephen I of Hungary. Part of the Revolutions of 1989 leading to the lifting of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany, it was organized by the Paneuropean Union and the opposition Hungarian Democratic Forum under the sponsorship of Otto von Habsburg and Imre Pozsgay.
on the featured photo: Viktor Orbán and Angela Merkel meeting in Valletta, 2017. Photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PM’s Press Office