The foreign ministry has summoned Hungary’s ambassador to the Netherlands to return for consultations in Budapest, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, announced on Friday.
Szijjártó added that there would be no ambassadorial-level communication between the two countries for an indefinite period of time. “This is a most radical move in diplomacy”, he added.
Szijjártó said he had also instructed the charge d’affaires of the Hungarian embassy to “firmly reject (recent) accusations against Hungary” and demand an explanation from the Dutch foreign ministry concerning remarks by the Dutch ambassador to Hungary. “An explanation given behind closed doors will not be enough,” the minister added.
In a recent interview, Gajus Scheltema, the outgoing Dutch ambassador, said that Islamic extremism “applies the same principles to create an enemy as the Hungarian government”.
Szijjártó said the Dutch ambassador had neglected and overstepped the conventions of diplomacy and made a statement that hurts Hungary’s dignity and sovereignty. This is a very rare occurrence and diplomatic steps had to be made because of its seriousness, he added.
“The Dutch ambassador to Budapest has dishonoured Hungary in an interview and it is therefore necessary to get a public statement by the Dutch government in this matter,” he said.
Many baseless accusations and derogatory remarks were made in the interview which need to be rejected, Szijjarto said. The most serious of them, however, was that the ambassador practically drew parallels between Hungary and the terrorists, he added.
“Hungary’s position is clear, we want to defend the country, the Hungarian people, Europe and its inhabitants and will not let in illegal migrants,” Szijjarto said.
He also criticised the ambassador’s remark according to which a vehicle-ramming terrorist attack could happen anywhere.
“It is difficult to make a more disrespectful and insensitive remark than that. We will never accept Europe to become a continent where vehicle-ramming attacks killing people can happen anywhere,” Szijjártó said.
The new Dutch ambassador to Hungary will not be received in any ministry or state office unless the Dutch government issues an official explanation, he said.
If it is revealed that the remarks in the interview reflected more that the private opinion of the outgoing ambassador and if the Dutch fail to publish a proper statement of apology, then the summoning of the Hungarian ambassador to return to Hungary will be a long-term measure and further diplomatic or political steps will be taken, Szijjártó said in response to a question.
He also said that Hungary has not yet received an explanation from the Netherlands behind closed doors either.
Szijjártó said that Hungary, a state of over 1000 years of standing, “is not a boxing sack”, something some foreign state leaders can “vent their rage on”.
Szijjártó noted that back in 2015, the Austrian chancellor at the time “branded Hungary as Nazi” and built swing gates on the border. The Croatian prime minister “slandered” Hungary but shortly afterwards their supply system crashed under the pressure of immigrants and “they got rather far” from Schengen membership. In another development, the Romanian foreign minister called Hungary “autist”. “None of them are in office anymore”, the foreign minister said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders reaction
Tamás Menczer, press chief of the foreign ministry, said on Friday that Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders told Szijjártó in a phone call that the ambassador’s remarks did not express the Dutch government’s standpoint in any way.
Koenders pointed out that “there is obviously no connection between the Hungarian government and terrorism”, Menczer told MTI.
Talking to the press earlier, Koenders said he did not think Scheltema had “meant the remark that way”.
The minister, however, called Szijjártó’s decision to withdraw the Hungarian ambassador from the Netherlands “exaggerated”. Koenders said it is pending further information whether he would apologise for the ambassador’s conduct. It is, however, unnecessary for tensions to be exacerbated in the two countries’ diplomatic relations, he added.
The government expects The Netherlands to take steps concerning the affair
Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said that the government, in agreement with Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, considers outgoing Dutch ambassador Gajus Scheltema’s statement that Islamic extremism “applies the same principles to create an enemy as the Hungarian government” as “totally unacceptable”.
“The ambassador has clearly drawn a parallel between the terrorists’ way of thinking and the actions of the Hungarian government. There is no need for such unprecedented statements either in bilateral relations or on a European level,” he said.
The government expects The Netherlands to take steps concerning the affair, he said.
Jobbik: Let’s just hope Trump never hacks Szijjártó off!
Press release – Although corruption and the misuse of national resources have become somewhat common in Hungary in the past 27 years, the current government has gone far beyond its predecessors. Unfortunately, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs prefers protecting its own corrupt sources over representing the interest of the nation.
The Dutch ambassador also took note of the Orbán government’s actions to exacerbate corruption and undermine the rule of law in the past seven years. What Minister Szíjjártó did not like about the leaving Dutch ambassador’s interview was probably not just a foreign diplomat pointing out the commonly known fact that corruption blossoms in Hungary but also the fact that it finally unveiled the true nature of Szíjjártó’s foreign policy, which pretends to be brave at home but kowtows like a coward abroad. Hungarian diplomacy is going on the road to total isolation, which is clearly shown by the facts that Hungarian leaders are no longer welcome in other European capitals and key European politicians avoid Budapest even when they visit our region.
Jobbik’s position is that Hungary’s discontinuation of Dutch relations at ambassador level will put our country even farther from the European political theatre at a time when we would finally have a chance to shape the changes of the European Union in a way that is favourable for Hungarians. After getting into government, Jobbik will represent Hungarian interests in the European political sphere and will do its best to move the European Union in a direction favourable for us. In the meantime, we can only hope that US president Donald Trump will refrain from criticizing the corrupt dealings of the Orbán government, which would prompt the head of Hungarian diplomacy to issue a declaration of war, Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi said in the patriotic oppisition party’s press release.
As we wrote on this morning, Szijjártó on Thursday “most firmly rejected” recent, “outrageous” remarks by Gajus Scheltema, the Netherlands’ ambassador, who is soon to leave his post in Budapest.