Hungary and the EU

 

Sir, – As the Ambassador of Hungary in Ireland, allow me to share some thoughts regarding the articles “EU plagued by erosion of democracy inside and outside its borders” (World, Analysis, September 30th) and “EU urged to withhold funding from governments that flout rule of law” (News, October 6th).

Hungarians – and I believe I can speak on behalf of Polish people here as well – have never felt themselves to be on the EU’s periphery. On the contrary, we are countries that, with over a thousand years of Christian heritage, have been helping to build the backbone of European values all across the continent.

And those values – just las you say in your article – “are not for sale”.

Hungarians made clear decisions about their future in 2010, in 2014 and in 2018, and their decision must be respected by everyone. Talking about faltering democracy regarding a country whose citizens have made their decisions clear in three consecutive elections, hence creating a government of unusual stability in Europe, is plain ignorance about what democracy truly means.

A strong European Union can only be built of strong and stable member states. It is not strengthened, but instead weakened, by those who instead of looking for solutions to our common problems – like Covid-19, or the historic and ongoing migration challenge – keep making unfounded accusations towards countries that, unlike many others, have a strong and clear, unified opinion.

The article mentions that Hungary and Poland announced they were setting up a new institute to monitor the observance of the rule of law across Europe. I must admit I am a bit confused. Which is the problem now, having an institute safeguarding the rule of law, or not having one? It seems like Hungary and Poland became the scapegoats, and no step we take can be seen as right.

No matter what political view one holds, calling a European country’s legitimate prime minister a “troll” is blatantly inappropriate and in my belief, unacceptable.

The article jumps around from Vera Jourová to Donald Trump to Britain, mixing it with Hungary and Poland, invoking a feeling that there is no clear direction, only a blur of accusing countries without a solid basis.

All we ask is that you respect the readers, and in order to achieve that, readers should receive all the necessary information to be able to form an unbiased opinion. – Yours, etc,

MANNO ISTVÁN,

Ambassador of Hungary

to Ireland,

Embassy of Hungary,

Dublin 2.