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Foreign Minister Warns Nordic Counterparts that Spreading Fake News Causes Division within Europe

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.05.12.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has sent letters to the foreign ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in connection with a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe they wrote jointly.

Szijjártó posted a Hungarian-language version of his letter to his Facebook page late on Monday.

In it, the minister said division within Europe would be the outcome were fake news spread about any particular country. Also, multilateral institutions would be undermined, he added.

He said he was obliged to express his “serious concerns and frustration” because measures taken by the Hungarian government in response to the coronavirus epidemic were being misrepresented, forming the basis for “unfounded, politically motivated attacks”, which were ongoing in spite of assurances given regarding the relevant law that, he said, actually enhanced the powers of lawmakers to oversee the government rather than diminishing them.

Parliament, he added, maintained its functions of supervision and control. Lawmakers can withdraw powers handed to the government at any time, he wrote.

Szijjártó said special measures were made only if necessary and proportionate, taking into account the trajectory of the epidemic and with a view to protecting the lives, health, safety and economic stability of Hungarian citizens. Steps taken under the law will only remain in place until the state of emergency is over, he added.

The minister said dialogue and cooperation were the basic tenets of the Council of Europe, adding that he remained ready to discuss any concerns in person. The Hungarian people, he said, were mature enough to make the right decisions about the future of their own country. This ability should not be questioned, Szijjártó added.

The foreign minister told on Sunday it would summon the ambassadors of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden next day, for spreading “fake news by the international liberal mainstream”.

Featured photo by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade