Despite their best efforts, the Slovak Embassy in Budapest cannot seem to stay out of controversy. After their wrecking-ball former Ambassador, Rastislav Kácer (2013-18), who had continuously undermined Slovak-Hungarian relations throughout his tenure, and later as a short lived Foreign Minister of Slovakia, the Slovak representation in Hungary finds itself in the middle of a scandal yet again.
At the instructions of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Slovak Embassy in Hungary had signed a joint declaration with 37 other embassies and foreign institutions published to coincide with the Budapest Pride parade. In this they state that “We are concerned with legislation and political rhetoric, including in Hungary, that is in tension with principles of non-discrimination, international human rights law and human dignity, and contributes to stigmatization of the LGBTQI+ community”.
The initiative that some argue is not in line with the competences of diplomatic missions, had immediately earned a strong criticism from the Slovakian MP Anna Záborská from the Christian Union (KÚ), who had published the following statement on her Facebook portal:
Anna Záborská (L) with Hungarian State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, Azbej Tristan. Photo: Facebook Anna Záborská
“What do we need elections for? The Slovak Embassy in Budapest supported the “Pride Month” and therefore a special concept of human rights for LGBTI and so on people. A concept on which there is no consensus in our society.
If our embassy joins the progressive party, I ask where does it get its mandate from?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given our embassies a free hand. Anyone can fly the rainbow flag if they wish. In Budapest, I think they wanted to. What kind of ministry is this? What kind of government is this? Does it manage anything else? Or can every official do whatever he wants?
The government does not have the confidence of parliament. We are shortly before the elections. The government is supposed to take Slovakia to the elections. Nothing more, if it is a bureaucratic government. Or do we not even need elections anymore and we will be ruled by bureaucrats and “experts”?
Criticism from the current caretaker Slovak government is all the more ambiguous, as attacks against the LGBT community in Hungary are extremely rare. In contrast with Slovakia, where two people were shot dead in a gay bar in Bratislava in October 2022, targeted physical attacks against gay people are almost unknown.
Although it is an open secret, which institution based in Hungary had initiated the petition published on Pride day, Hungary Today had asked some of the signatories to disclose the name of the organizer. To date we have received no answer. However, current ambassador of Slovakia, Pavol Hamzík, will have his work cut out again to rectify the damage done to neighborly relations.
Featured Image: Slovak Embassy Hungary