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Progressive Politicians in Slovakia Take Offense at Péter Szijjártó’s Message

Dániel Deme 2023.08.15.

Eight Slovak liberal politicians have spoken out against Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who had last week remarked about an international liberal campaign against conservative forces in Europe.

In his post Péter Szijjártó had stated that “a leading politician from the opposition party most likely to win the autumn parliamentary elections has been arrested in Slovakia”. He concluded that “the international liberal mainstream does not shy away from any kind of heavy-handed intervention, police or judicial means, if it feels its power is threatened”. The comment was made on account of the arrest of former Slovakian police captain, Tibor Gašpar, a candidate for the opposition Eurosceptic and national-conservative SMER-SD.

Vladimír Bilčík, a MEP for the extra-parliamentary liberal Democrats commented by saying that “Tibor Gašpar, or other prosecuted members of the SMER party, are not victims. Their investigation means that the Slovak police are doing their job. Laws must apply equally to everyone. As one of the eight MEPs from Slovakia, I signed the open letter that we addressed to the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Péter Szijjártó publicly questioned the actions of the Slovak police and indicated that in the case of Tibor Gašpar it is a case of prosecuting the political opposition,” he continues.

“We reminded the minister in the letter that we care about the consistent application of the same rules for everyone at the same time. Such an approach also contributes to the perception of corruption, where in the international comparison, according to Transparency International, according to the latest evaluations, Slovakia is ranked 28 places better than Hungary. These statements of the Hungarian minister undermine the good neighborly relations that we all wish for. Good relations are based on respect and following the rules,” he concludes.

In a letter addressed to the head of Hungarian diplomacy, Ivan Štefanec, MEP for another left-wing Slovak party, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) remarked that “We are convinced that the fight against corruption is important at all levels of society and law enforcement agencies play an irreplaceable role in it. We care about the consistent application of the same rules for everyone at all times,” he declared.

Michal Šimečka, leader of the radical left-wing party, Progressive Slovakia, that is mostly popular among students, wrote that “I call on the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petra Szijjártó, to respect the sovereignty of the Slovak Republic and refrain from statements that are unfounded and question the independence of the Slovak Police. I am reacting to the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary that Tibor Gašpar is the target of a hunt.”

In addition to Štefanec, Bilčík and Šimečka, other Slovak politicians have also signed the open letter, including Martin Hojsík MEP (Progressive Slovakia), Eugen Jurzyca MEP (Freedom and Solidarity, SaS), Miriam Lexmann MEP (KDH), Peter Pollák MEP (OLANO) and Michal Wiezik MEP (Progressive Slovakia).

On the Slovak national-conservative side though, there were those who appreciated Péter Szijjártó’s warning about the political situation in Slovakia. Monika Beňová, MEP for the largest opposition party, SMER, drew attention to

the double standards of the left-wing and progressive politicians who in Brussels regularly and willingly join initiatives criticizing or penalizing Hungary.

Addressing the leader of the Progressive Slovakia, Michal Šimečka, she pointed out that as an MEP and rapporteur for the Report on the Rule of Law in the EU, the left-wing politician expressed his regret that Hungary, by not implementing the Court of Justice of the EU judgment, continues to shrink the space of civil society in the country. Furthermore, Beňová also pointed out that Šimečka had urged the European Commission to refer Hungary’s case to the Court of Justice of the EU and immediately requested the application of dissuasive sanctions under Article 260 of the EU.

Monika Beňová also rightly pointed out that the progressive politician, who is now complaining about the violation of the sovereignty of Slovakia, has in the past “voted for the reduction of EU funds and supported the suspension of the rights of Hungary to preside over the Council of the EU in 2024,” the MEP recalls.

So now I do not know if Šimečka forgot about his work or if it means that no one is allowed to say anything but only HE can say anything and about anyone,”

asks Beňová.

Foreign Minister Complains About the Intolerance of the Liberal Mainstream
Foreign Minister Complains About the Intolerance of the Liberal Mainstream

Péter Szijjártó had highlighted three cases from Slovakia, Bosnia and the U.S.Continue reading

Featured Image: Facebook Péter Szijjártó

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