Hungary’s Viktor Orban Insulting Behavior in Romania: the promised beautiful friendship ended before it began
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote on Facebook after his private meeting with Marcel Ciolacu in Bucharest, after they discussed grandiose investment projects, Schengen and mutual aid: This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
After Orban’s speech in Tușnad, the most insulting possible, this friendship was over before it began. In view of the constant excesses of the past, the Romanian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the Hungarian Embassy in Bucharest with a score before the Tușnad event, in order to remind again the sensitive issues for the Romanian state, although they were already well-known to the Hungarian side.
Normally the MAE should not have sent such a thing, but considering the character’s past record it was useful to remind him again of the house rules. Viktor Orban used the diplomatic note to cross all the red lines.
„They write not to talk about non-existent Romanian territorial administrative units. I thought about what they meant, I think about Szeklerland and Transylvania. But we have never said that these are Romanian territorial units” – this is perhaps the most outrageous phrase ever uttered by a senior Hungarian official on Romanian territory.
Hungarian radicals and extremists still say that Transylvania is Hungarian territory. It is inconceivable that a high official, a prime minister, should utter these words on Romanian territory, questioning its borders, its sovereignty, its Constitution, with astonishing levity and with tasteless ironies on subjects that should not be joked about.
Normally, after these unprecedentedly aggressive revisionist statements, the Romanian state should declare the author persona non-grata. As long as the leaders of the UDMR do not distance themselves from him, they have no place in government ever again since they will no longer be trusted to be loyal to the Romanian state.
Of course, officially it is hard to believe that the Romanian state will go that far with diplomatic sanctions. But de facto, Viktor Orban is already persona non-grata in Europe, not just in Romania.
Increasingly isolated economically, politically and militarily, Viktor Orban has for a long time been acting on a different foreign policy agenda than the rest of Europe: he is pro-Putin, pro-Russian, pro-China, anti-Ukraine and actively undermines European values at every opportunity.
He proved it in spades at Tușnad, where he talked for two hours about how rotten the West is, how America has fallen into second place, glorified China, praised Putin and, of course, questioned Romania’s borders.
At this point, it’s pretty clear what’s in Viktor Orban’s head. The Hungarian prime minister really believes we are witnessing a historic moment, a once-in-a-hundred-years chance.
He seems convinced that the earth’s poles of power are reversing and that he needs to get on the winning side early to reclaim the territories Hungary lost in 1918. That is why he is frantically cheering and supporting Putin’s revisionism by any means, actively promoting all of Moscow’s narratives.
Orban lives in a different world, with different values, with different losers and winners than those imagined by the Western world. The historical fiction that Orban presents to the public today with the airs of a great strategist has cost the Hungarians throughout history a long line of defeats, suffering and frustration.
Orban takes refuge in an imaginary, fantasy future because he has no solutions to his country’s internal and external problems.
Hungary is a small country, lacking in resources and geostrategic relevance, which Viktor Orban has collapsed economically, isolated from the rest of the Western world and acted as Russia’s Trojan horse in Europe. Ethnic Hungarians in Romania should understand this, and the leaders of the UDMR would do well to stop applauding his ramblings and thus misleading the rest of the community.
The future of the Hungarian community in Transylvania lies in a European and pro-Western Romania, as far away as possible from the utopias of a leader who has been condemning his country to underdevelopment for 20 years. I repeat here an easily verifiable statistic: today, Bucharest has outperformed Budapest in many macroeconomic indicators.
And I don’t think this is about Romania’s spectacular growth, but about Hungary’s accelerated collapse. This was almost unthinkable in the past, with Hungary always about ten years ahead of Romania.
The authorities in Bucharest must have the wisdom not to punish the Hungarian minority because of the slippages of Budapest or because of the Hungarian leaders in Transylvania who applaud their revisionist idol with their eyes wide open.
Orban will leave at some point, Orbanism may survive for a while, but the Hungarians of Transylvania will stay here. It is Romania’s duty to take care of their future like any other of its citizens.
However, it remains to be seen how many leaders of the UDMR, led by Kelemen Hunor, will firmly distance themselves from Viktor Orban’s revisionism, insults and ironies against Romania and its leaders.
A few words about Marcel Ciolacu’s miscalculation. The Romanian Prime Minister invited Viktor Orban to a private lunch at his austere, communist-tinged Spring residence on Schengen grounds. Hungary will hold the EU presidency in the second half of next year. If Romania misses out on joining the free movement area again this year, it will end up in Viktor Orban’s hands next year.
Only this is a miscalculation. Even if it gets there, Orban has no way to play the Schengen card. If he were to oppose it, he would punish a million Hungarians living in Romania plus the Hungarian business community.
Romanian and Hungarians are all suffering because of the time lost at the border with Romania, which has become the third largest destination country for Hungarian exports.
Ciolacu has been badly advised. He should not have accepted Kelemen Hunor’s suggestion to invite him to Bucharest. He was humiliated in a way that rarely happens at a high level.
Viktor Orban behaved just like the guest invited to dinner, who takes a dump in the middle of the dining room and then thanks the host nicely for his hospitality.
But the host knew from the start, or should have known, that the guest not only does not respect the rules of the house, but also believes that part of the house is rightfully his. Such a guest has no business being invited into your home at all.
- Below is the excerpt translated for G4Media.ro by an ethnic Hungarian to eliminate any discussion of the misunderstanding. The underlining belongs to the editorial staff:
„Every year the subject that I really should talk about gives me a bit of a headache, because of course we know from the beginning that in the end we will all think about the same thing, and how we will get there.
This year I received some helpful material, because the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which, if I understand correctly, belongs rather to the power wing of the President of the State, rushed to my aid and sent me a démarche, in which they wrote to me about what is not allowed to talk about, what can I talk about? How? And what I must ignore.
This is an official act of state. I am making it known. They advise us not to talk about those things that may harm Romanian sensibilities. Then they list them:
National symbols. Well, as far as I’m concerned, we can agree on that. I won’t talk about that, but I welcome friends who arrived with Hungarian and Szekler flags.
Let’s not talk about the collective rights of minorities. Okay. I’m not talking about that either, I’m just noting that they exist and they belong to the Hungarians who live here.
They write not to talk about non-existent Romanian territorial administrative units. I thought about what they meant, I think about Ardeal and Szeklerland. But we have never said that these are Romanian territorial units.
They write that we can talk about something, but without presenting them in a bad note. These would be for example: the values of the West. If one is into European politics, as this is my job, then today Western values mean 3 things: migration, LGBTQ and war. Dear Romanian friends, these should not be presented on a bad note, they stand alone on a bad note.
And finally, there is another pearl to be ignored. Let’s ignore the xenophobic revisionist approach to migration.
This is already communist time travel. I am reminded of Hofi’s (a famous Hungarian comedian) joke, which was about: who can say in one breath the following: imperialist, revisionist, bourgeois, clerical, and chauvinist, fascist.
It almost makes the man shudder. So these we will ignore.
In view of this, since we have received a démarche, what do we propose to our Romanian friends?
First of all, we propose that if the Romanian president comes to Hungary and gives a presentation, an event for which we keep inviting him, then we will not determine what and how much he can talk about.
We also propose to our Romanian brothers to consider that the greatest current Romanian ambition, the Schengen membership, is fully supported by Hungary and we draw their attention to the fact that, as of 1 June 2024, there will be a Hungarian presidency in the EU and that the primary goal of our programme is for Romania to achieve Schengen membership.”
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