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January 27, 2023

PM Ponta: I think Hungary Gov’t tries to provoke us, I would not let myself be provoked

Prime Minister Victor Ponta said late on Monday in speaking of an interview given by the Hungarian ambassador in Bucharest that the Government of the neighbouring country wants to provoke the Romanian authorities amid the criticism it is being put to by the European countries and the United States.

“I think the Government of Hungary – and the ambassador follows the Government’s lead – tries very hard to provoke us. They are being criticized at this moment by all Europe and by America for anti-Semitism, for revisionism, for the friendship with Russia, for the fence they raise against the emigrants and then they try something like: ‘Let’s involve Romania in the row’. I do not want to do this. I want them to answer for what they do there. I am glad the Hungarians come and buy foodstuffs from Romania and that western firms that used to have factories in Hungary are moving them to Romania. I am satisfied by such things. (…) I would not let myself be provoked”, Ponta told Romania TV news channel.

When asked whether Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu had consulted President Klaus Iohannis on this matter, the prime minister answered Aurescu “is such a technocratic and professional guy that he has always been in contact with the Presidential Administration, with advisor Lazar Comanescu”.

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Monday morning the Hungarian Embassy’s charge d’affaires Karoly Zoltan Nagy, over a recent interview by Hungarian Ambassador to Romania Botond Zakonyi (Karoly Zoltan Nagy acts as substitute to the Ambassador, while the latter is on leave). In this context, the Romanian side stressed that the Hungarian side is not yet ready to comply with the general framework of the bilateral relationship, informs a Foreign Ministry release to Agerpres.

“During the discussion, the Romanian side expressed strong disagreement at the content of the statements made by Ambassador Botond Zakonyi on the Romanian-Hungarian bilateral relations overall. This proves once again that the Hungarian side is not yet ready to comply with the general framework of bilateral relations and the political and legal foundations thereof, specifically the Treaty of understanding, cooperation and good neighborliness signed in 1996, and the Strategic Partnership Declaration signed in 2002. The Romanian side reiterated a strong call for this bilateral relationship to be treated with utmost responsibility by virtue of the principle of good neighborliness and of Romania and Hungary’s shared status of EU and NATO members,” reads the release.

The Foreign Ministry also highlighted the “completely inappropriate nature of the statements, when referenced to an Ambassador’s mandate of representation in the state he resides in, especially as regards the unacceptable opinions expressed, which lack the deference due to the Prime Minister of Romania.”

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