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Apr 30, 2020

State Secretary hits back at Bloomberg article criticizing Hungary's state of emergency measures

Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, has written a letter to the Editor of Bloomberg in relation to Andreas Kluth’s column published on April 25.

Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, has written a letter to the Editor of Bloomberg in relation to Andreas Kluth’s column, “Coronavirus Has Exposed the EU’s Creeping Irrelevance“, published on April 25.

Kluth called Hungary’s democratically elected Prime Minister Viktor Orban a “tin-pot dictator” who has “largely neutered Hungary’s opposition, courts and press” and used the coronavirus epidemic to introduce “rule by decree.”

Kovács writes that what Kluth fails to mention is that many other European Union states have introduced a similar state of emergency, with some assuming powers that far exceed Orban’s temporary rights. Germany’s health minister can issue directives despite any constitutional concerns. Switzerland’s government rules via directive, bypassing the legislature. And Spain’s parliament remains in session but cannot question the government. Compared to these, the additional powers granted to the Hungarian government seem like child’s play, he adds.

And yet we see no journalists expressing similar concern about the rule of law in Germany, Switzerland or Spain, Kovács writes. And certainly nobody dares call any of their leaders a tin-pot dictator.

Kluth also ignores the inconvenient fact that these extraordinary measures are popular with the Hungarian people, with nearly 60 percent saying they should be extended until the end of the pandemic.

Moreover, the World Health Organization’s representative in Hungary, Dr. Ledia Lazeri, has said that our measures have “succeeded in avoiding exponential growth” of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Nevertheless, Kovács concludes that the double standards persist.

Read more here.