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May 24, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Tittle-tattle and rumor and Hungarians in Brussels

Hungary certainly has its critics in the EU quarter, but the real picture looks substantially different. Hungarians and our prime minister have become known as straight-talkers, and that directness, because our message makes sense to a lot of people, has also won many supporters.

The European edition of Politico ran a piece recently about Hungarians supposedly being treated like pariahs in Brussels, ostracized because of the negative reputation there of the Orbán Government. The article had a clever, clickable title, but the story stood on flimsy sources, “tittle-tattle and rumor” from a Hungarian Socialist former commissioner and an anonymous Hungarian “official”.

I wrote a short letter to the editor, published last week, because it seemed to me that the coverage was disingenuous and, as usual, biased in its treatment.

Hungary certainly has its critics in the EU quarter, but the real picture looks substantially different. Publicly, as I note in the letter, the old EU member states criticize Hungary’s refusal to permit its sovereignty to be undermined by a federal European apparatus making unprecedented – and undemocratic – decisions about its future. It should come as no surprise that Prime Minister Orbán’s firm opposition to the top-down overreaching of Brussels sometimes ruffles feathers.

But as I also note in the letter, “There are a lot of people in Brussels who secretly admire the way Hungarians and the Hungarian government go about things.”  Hungarians and our prime minister have become known as straight-talkers, and that directness, because our message makes sense to a lot of people, has also won many supporters.

Read the letter here.

(Cover illustration by Lon Chan for POLITICO. Taken from the original article)