Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán pushed back on Thursday against the criticism of the Council of Europe, which warned him that coronavirus emergency measures must respect democratic principles.
“If you are unable to help us in the present crisis, at least please refrain from hindering our defensive efforts,” Orbán wrote in a letter in response to Council of Europe’s Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić.
In Burić’s letter to Orbán, she warned that “measures which member states take in the present exceptional circumstances of the pandemic must comply with both national constitutions and international standards and observe the very essence of democratic principles.”
According to Pejčinović Burić, the Hungarian government’s recent moves to combat coronavirus are improper.
Burić, from Croatia and a member of the center-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), was referring to the Hungarian government’s parliamentary motion asking for an indefinite extension of the emergency rule, which opposition parties criticized as excessive.
Orbán and his government contend they are taking actions necessary to protect the Hungarian people during arguably the biggest crisis the country has faced since the end of communism.
“The Hungarian prime minister asked the Secretary General to study the exact text of the motion submitted to parliament, and she should also study the relevant practices of other sates,” Orbán’s press secretary, Bertalan Havas, said while quoting from the letter the prime minister sent in reply.
According to the official Hungarian coronavirus website, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 261 from 226 two days ago, with 100 people in quarantine, 10 deceased and 28 cured.