President Klaus Iohannis told a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace on Friday, that it is inadmissible for “a high-ranking European dignitary to come on the public stage with a speech built on the theory of races to motivate any internal or external political actions “, referring to the statements of Viktor Orban while attending an event in Băile Tușnad, Romania. The head of state said that public clarifications are also needed in the governing coalition from the leaders of the Democratic Magyar Union in Romania (UDMR), who applauded Viktor Orban’s speech. The other two ruling coalition parties, PSD and UDMR had asked UDMR to explain his stance in a coalition sitting.
“In principle, it is wrong, a major error, and it is inadmissible for a high-ranking European dignitary to come on the public stage with a speech built on the theory of races, which led to the most terrible catastrophe of the 20th century, the Second World War. It is a theory of the saddest memory possible, and it cannot be accepted in any way that a European dignitary should come up with such a theory to motivate any of his domestic or foreign political endeavors. It is equally regrettable that a high-ranking European dignitary comes on the public stage with a speech with an anti-European tone. These things are true no matter where this scene is. The fact that it happened in Transylvania is a problem for us and the reactions of the public space showed that it is,” Klaus Iohannis said.
“It is true that Prime Minister Orban on another stage, in Vienna, tried to retract the statements or reinterpret them, which shows that it is a sign that he realized that this does not work in Europe. It is not my role and purpose to give lessons in politics or oratory to a high European dignitary, but I cannot help dissociating myself clearly, publicly, from the ideas circulated there“, he added.
“I think there is a need for public clarifications from the UDMR, because a significant part of the leadership and ministers of the UDMR was present at that event. They have to explain if they agreed with the content of that speech they applauded, which would be extremely complicated, or if they didn’t understand what was being talked about and generically applauded the character who gave the speech. Whatever the explanation, it must exist and there must be a clarifying discussion including in the governing coalition.
On the other hand, no one wants to cause a governmental crisis in Romania because a high-ranking foreign dignitary gave an erroneous speech, but we cannot pretend that those things were not said, just as we cannot pretend that those words were not applauded”, stated Klaus Iohannis.
The spokeswoman of the UDMR, Hegedus Csilla, rejected the request of President Klaus Iohannis that the Union make public clarifications in relation to the controversial statements of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“We do not comment on the statements of President Klaus Iohannis. The words of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Orban Viktor, from Băile Tușnad were taken out of context and it is not us who need to give explanations”, said Hegedus Csilla, according to Antena 3.
Later on, UDMR chairman Kelemen Hunor (photo) himself retorted to President Iohannis, saying it is not the case of talking about a coalition crisis. According to Kelemen, UDMR has met all obligations assumed so far next to the coalition partners, while the Hungarian PM Orban has not talked in Tusnad about Romania or about the authorities in Bucharest.
“I really don’t see the reason why we should explain or say why someone is applauding a speech,” he argued.
Kelemen had stated that he doesn’t consider Viktor Orban’s speech at Băile Tușnad to be racist or pro-Russia. The president of the UDMR told the Hungarian website Maszol that the statements of the Hungarian prime minister must be interpreted into context. He pointed out that he has known Viktor Orban personally for some time, so he dares to say that “there is not a single bit of racism in Orban”.
“Interracial mixing, relations between people are a private matter in the civilized world, not a political subject of parties, it is not a subject related to the functioning of society and it is not a state subject. If it can be said that way, it is a matter of the soul,” Kelemen said.
As for the accusation that the Hungarian prime minister gave a pro-Russian speech at the Tusnad Baths, Kelemen Hunor said: “Viktor Orban condemned Russia, every person who condemns the war condemns because what Russia is doing is unacceptable. Europe’s goal is to push Russia back to its borders and end the war between Russia and Ukraine as soon as possible. It is in everyone’s interest to have peace. If someone wants peace, that does not make him a Putin supporter. If anyone thinks that peace negotiations should be opened as soon as possible, I think he has the most normal expectations in the world: not war, but peace should be decisive.”
Regarding the fact that PSD president Marcel Ciolacu requested a discussion about Viktor Orban’s speech in the governing coalition, Kelemen stated that if he wants to put this on the agenda, there is no obstacle, because any of the coalition leaders can propose any political topic.
European and Romanian leaders have slammed Orban’s speech in Baile Tusnad. PM Nicolae Ciuca said that “such unwanted statements don’t belong in a Europe where 27 countries are living peacefully and prosperously”.
PSD chairman Marcel Ciolacu said two days ago that the speech was an offense not only for Romanians, but for the whole world. He said there would be talks in the coalition, but that he expected UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor to have “immediately” reacted.
PNL spokesman Ionuț Stroe said on Facebook on Friday that the president of UDMR, Kelemen Hunor, “will have to clarify his position – his and the party he leads and represents – for this situation to end” .
Viktor Orban’s comments, denouncing a “mixed-race” world as a result of migration, have drawn criticism from the vice-president of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas.