Hungary summons ambassadors of 5 Nordic countries, demands they stop spreading fake news

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Hungary is summoning the ambassadors of five Nordic countries after they criticized Hungary over its state of emergency law designed to protect the country during the coronavirus crisis.

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó indicated that Hungary is summoning 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.

The foreign ministers of the five Nordic countries responded to Burić on May 6 that they “share the concerns expressed in that letter. Even in an emergency situation the rule of law must prevail.”

They were responding to Burić’s original letter, which stated, “An indefinite and uncontrolled state of emergency cannot guarantee that the basic principles of democracy will be observed and that the emergency measures restricting fundamental human rights are strictly proportionate to the threat which they are supposed to counter.”

EU determined Hungary breached no EU rules

While the Council of Europe first protested the Hungarian government’s state of emergency law, the EU has since determined that the law violates no EU guidelines and that no action will be pursued against Hungary. In addition, Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová officially determined that Hungary is breaching no EU laws or guidelines earlier this month.

Despite the finding, the five Nordic countries appear to still be protesting the Hungarian law, but it is unclear how the country has violated any “rule of law” principles.

“This weekend did not pass without the international liberal mainstream continuing to spread fake news” Szijjártó said in a Facebook post Sunday evening.

“We will move on, but let us make one thing clear now: the Hungarians are a more than a thousand-year-old nation, which does not ask for pathetically hypocritical guardianship,” Szijjártó wrote. “Neither the Danish, the Icelandic, nor the Finnish, nor the Norwegian, nor the Swedish foreign ministers should think that they know better than the Hungarians what is good for the Hungarians. They should feel free to leave these decisions to us, since the Hungarian people can decide what they want and what they don’t. And they should also feel free to deal with their own issues.”

Szijjártó indicated that all five countries would be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the issue.

“Of course, the ambassadors of all five countries accredited in Budapest will be called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tomorrow,” the post concludes.

Szijjártó added that in addition to the letter, several of the five foreign ministers also made individual statements regarding Hungary.

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

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