Hungarian government’s letter to Nordic countries requests they stop spreading fake news

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After having had summoned the ambassadors of five Nordic countries to his office on Monday, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó sent a letter to his counterparts asking them not to spread fake news about Hungary’s emergency legislation, which some claim gives the government excessive power during the coronavirus crisis.

“I share your appreciation of the remarkable work of the Council of Europe in the field of protection human rights, democracy and the rule of law, but circulating fake news about some countries of our European family will only create divisions and undermine the effective functioning of these multilateral institutions,” Szijjártó wrote in the letter.

Szijjártó summoned the ambassadors of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden after their respective foreign ministers sent a letter claiming Hungary was violating the “rule of law” to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić.

In the letter, the five Nordic countries assured Burić of their support regarding her concerns over the emergency bill that gave the Hungarian government extended powers for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I wish to underline that this bill actually extends the prerogatives of the National Assembly vis-a-vis the Government,” Szijjártó wrote. “It does not contain any restrictions on the activities of the National Assembly; therefore, the National Assembly retains oversight and control. Moreover, it provides the Parliament with the power to revoke the authorization at any time.”

Szijjártó finished his letter by asking the addressees not to question the capacity of the Hungarian people to “make appropriate decisions about the future of their own country.”

Title image: Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó.

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