The French were upset by Otto Habsburg’s younger son, George, who was appointed Hungary’s French ambassador, Euronews reported.
The possibility of the grandson of the last Hungarian king as a candidate came up at the end of last year, and he began his term in Paris in March this year. Le Figaro, a centre-right French newspaper, wrote an exhaustive article about his appointment, but the fact sparked great outrage among the paper’s audience.
György, 55, has held various diplomatic positions since 1996, and he has also worked as a travelling ambassador and represented the interests of the Hungarian Olympic Committee abroad (George’s cousin, Eduárd Habsburg, has been Hungary’s ambassador to the Vatican since 2015).
Does Viktor Orbán intend to annoy Macron with György Habsburg? I think so…
– writes an outraged Frenchman following an article by the centre-right Le Figaro.
As one French commentator points out, it is interesting that while in Austria, the Habsburgs are not particularly welcome in public life, Hungary appoints the family members for important positions. It is known that George’s grandfather, Charles the IV, the last Hungarian king, tried to get the Hungarian throne back for the first time between March 27 and April 5, 1921, also known as the Easter Crusade. Even though the Habsburgs cannot be eligible as Austrian heads of state or ambassadors,
THERE IS NO LEGAL OBSTACLE TO REPRESENT HUNGARY AS AN AMBASSADOR.
Despite the fact that George’s father, Otto Habsburg, was a well-known figure in France and is highly respected across Europe, there is a lively debate on his appointment as ambassador on several French websites. Some write that it is an “honour for France”, others complain that George represents the far-right Orbán government, while some complain that the name Habsburg should not have come up at all in the first place, as the French have considered them the enemy back in the day.
According to one commentator:
A Habsburg living in Hungary is a historical paradox. Even if his father, Mr Otto, was a great man, this does not justify his son being appointed French ambassador. The Habsburgs have been the sworn enemies of our country for centuries. Virtually every war, be it the Napoleonic Wars, the Imperial Wars, and finally the First World War, were caused by the Habsburgs. Is this intended to be a flick for Macron by Viktor Orbán? I think yes…
Of course, there were those who pointed out that Hungary could not be judged “through French glasses”.
The nomination of György Habsburg probably surprises only those who have not followed the course of his life. György’s family base is in Sóskút, close to Budapest, and his three children, Zsófia, Ildikó, and Károly, were born in Hungary. He and his father worked hard to make Hungary a member of the European Union and, as he said at a lecture at the National Civil Service University in March 2019, he considers himself to be Hungarian and by no means Austrian.
(source of featured image: video still of György Habsburg from here)