No one can be allowed to make disparaging remarks about Hungarians or their democratically-elected government, Levente Magyar, the deputy foreign minister, told public media on Friday.
Magyar reacted to a now deleted Facebook post by the CEO of Austrian public broadcaster ORF, Karl Pachner, who had said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán dying of a heart attack would be a “fair thing”.
Magyar said he had told the charge d’affaires of the Austrian embassy in connection with the matter that the Hungarian government was convinced that a leading figure of Austria’s public media had made “especially harsh and outrageous comments” about Hungary’s democratically-elected prime minister.
Because of the overwhelming support behind the prime minister, Pachner’s comments could be seen as insulting to all Hungarians,
This issue needed to be brought up to the representative of the Austrian government, who distanced himself from the comments and expressed an intention to cooperate, Magyar added.
“However, I made it clear that if such comments are made in the future, this will not be enough to settle the issue,”
Magyar said. “These words go beyond the civilisational norms that are allowed in Europe even in such a time of war when we should be focusing all our efforts on meeting the challenges presented by the shockwaves of the war together.”
Hungary strives for good relations with Austria, but will not allow Austria or any other foreign players to disparage Hungarians, their democratically elected government and its leader, the deputy minister said.
Wishing another person’s death is unacceptable and can’t be smoothed over with an apology, Tamás Menczer, the state secretary for foreign relations, said on Friday. Menczer said Pachner’s position as a leader of the Austrian public media had “made the situation even graver”.
“This post is already terrible in itself, it is a slap in the face of an entire country, as the prime minister was elected by the people,”
he said. He called on Austrian media authorities to act.