As we reported yesterday, PM Viktor Orbán wore a Greater Hungary scarf on Sunday’s Hungary-Greece friendly football match. The scarf depicts the silhouette of the borders of the Hungarian Kingdom, and neighbouring countries reacted harshly to what happened. Here is what the Slovaks and the Austrians said.
But why did Orbán wear such a provoking scarf? We do not know. But the fact is that he uploaded a video on his official Facebook page of the meeting with Balázs Dzsudzsák (whose last professional match was on Sunday against Greece) in the VIP lounge after the match wearing the scarf is questionable.
Of course, some neighbouring countries reacted quickly. First was the Romanian foreign ministry condemning the act. The second was Croatia, where the president said it was laughable and Hungary was the best neighbour of his country. Meanwhile, Ukraine summoned the Hungarian ambassador to Kyiv. Furthermore, Ukraine is waiting for an official apology from Hungary, Dmytro Kuleba, the country’s foreign minister, added.
The Slovak and Austrian reactions came later yesterday. A spokesperson from the Austrian foreign ministry shrugged the issue off with a joke. “A quick glance at historical maps in the Viennese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed initial suspicions, according to which Transleithania (the Kingdom of Hungary) ceased to exist around 100 years ago,” politico.eu quoted him. “We will inform our Hungarian neighbours of this development at the earliest opportunity” he added.
However, the Slovaks were not in a humorous mood. Rastislav Káčer, the Slovak foreign minister, said the Hungarians living in Slovakia were at home and were citizens of the country. But irredentism and revisionism had no place in Slovak-Hungarian relations. He referred to the ongoing war in Ukraine and highlighted where such feelings might lead. He said the prime minister’s behaviour was disgusting, 444.hu said.
Andrej Stančík (OľaNO), Slovakia’s foreign secretary, also referred to Russia’s war in Ukraine and talked about the independence of Slovakia. He added he could not imagine why Orbán picked this particular neckwear. The Slovak vice president of the European Parliament, Michal Šimečka, said such scarves deny the existence of Slovakia. Therefore, they were dangerous symbols.
The Czech foreign secretary, Jan Lipovsky, talked about provocation and expressed their understanding towards their Slovak friends in the issue.
Viktor Orbán tried to cut the story short with three short sentences he wrote on his Facebook page. He said that football was not politics and that the national team was the team of all Hungarians living all around the world. The prime minister will travel to Kassa (Kosice, Slovakia) on Thursday for a Visegrád Four summit, where he will probably have to explain the issue.
Interestingly, Serbia has not reacted yet on the issue despite having a Hungarian community of more than 200 thousand souls thanks to the Trianon and Paris treaties. Orbán said on Sunday that their football team would win the UEFA championships in Qatar. Maybe that is why Belgrade chose to remain silent on the matter.
Source: DNH, politico.eu, 444.hu, Facebook