The opposition Socialists (MSZP) said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s remarks made at an extraordinary meeting of Hungarian ambassadors “humiliated” Hungary’s diplomats. Attila Mesterházy, of the Socialist Party’s foreign affairs cabinet, said in a statement that the government’s approach to the foreign economy lacked “any values of classical diplomacy” and expected diplomats to be merely “sales people” rather than “diplomats having ideas and analytic capabilities”. Hungary’s eastern opening policy has been a failure, because the turnover of trade with most countries has dropped, Mesterházy insisted.
The opposition Együtt (Together) party said that the need to hold an extraordinary meeting six months after the regular meeting in itself indicates that the policy announced in August has failed. As examples for the government’s failures in the past few months, Együtt board member Nóra Hajdu referred to international reactions to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Budapest visit, Orbán’s “extremely unsuccessful” talks in Warsaw, and an “unprecedented chill” in Hungary-US relations.
Radical nationalist Jobbik welcomed the government’s “recognising that Hungary’s room for manoeuvre is determined by more than one pole”. Márton Gyöngyösi, Jobbik’s deputy group leader, interpreted the prime minister’s remarks as adopting Jobbik’s position of focusing on the “Germany-Turkey-Russia triangle” and not restricting the economy to exports by international companies. On the other hand, Jobbik “firmly rejects” Orbán’s advocating “the Euro- Atlantic grand coalition of the past 25 years” against the Islamic State, Gyöngyösi said. “We cannot provide military support, since […] the West is responsible for the emergence of the Islamic State”, he insisted.
Orbán said at the ambassadors’ meeting that foreign policy should adjust to the new world order but it is now time for Hungary to pursue an independent policy. Orbán said the pursuit of an independent foreign policy could be at times “uncomfortable” but they should get used to it. The prime minister said he had met ambassadors who found it problematic being disliked in the country where they were stationed because they were expected to represent the standpoint that Hungary, in certain cases, did not agree with the policies of that state.
via hungarymatters.hu photo: Simon Móricz-Sabján – nol.hu