Hungary’s foreign minister said on Friday that he had “appreciated” his Dutch counterpart’s phone call distancing himself from outgoing Dutch ambassador Gajus Scheltema’s remarks on Hungary.
Hungary has no intentions to further exacerbate tensions with another EU country but “no one can slander Hungary without consequences”, Péter Szijjártó told public television late on Friday.
As we wrote on Friday, Scheltema said in an interview that Islamic extremism “applies the same principles to create an enemy as the Hungarian government”. In reaction, the foreign ministry has summoned Hungary’s ambassador to the Netherlands to return for consultations in Budapest. Szijjártó announced that ambassadorial-level communication between the two countries would be discontinued for an indefinite period of time.
Bert Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister, told Szijjártó that the ambassador’s remarks did not express the Dutch government’s standpoint in any way.
“There is obviously no connection between the Hungarian government and terrorism“, Koenders said.
The Dutch foreign minister said he was “unhappy” with the ambassador’s remark.
The Hungarian government will decide on further steps on Monday, Szijjártó said.
The root of disagreement is a difference in approach, Szijjártó said. European countries are either pro-immigration or pro-security, he said, and Hungary views the safety of its citizens as its utmost priority. Economic ties between the countries are unaffected by the diplomatic conflict, he said.