June 9th, 2011

Hungarian Parliamentary speaker in row over Slovak “war” remarks

Hungary’s Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover responded to Slovak criticism over an interview with him in the Czech daily Hospodarske Noviny and said that he upheld each remark, on the sidelines of talks in Croatia on Wednesday.

The Hungarian nation cannot give up any of its components; ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia belong to the nation both in a spiritual and a cultural sense, Kover said in the interview published on Monday.

In the interview, Kover also referred to Slovakia’s constructing a water barrage system on the river Danube, through which, he said, Slovakia had relocated the border between the two countries. In the 1990s Hungary made an attempt to resolve the situation through international law, though it could even have used military force, Kover said in the interview.

Slovak Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said earlier in the day that Kover’s remarks were offensive and inappropriate, they did not constitute even a minor threat as they were motivated by a wish to divert attention from Hungary’s internal and foreign-policy woes.

Richard Sulik, Kover’s Slovak counterpart, said on Wednesday that threatening with military intervention or even implying such a thing were not part of the vocabulary of good neighbours and were unacceptable.

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  • vdx

    Well, while until Monday only a few people in Slovakia ever heard of Laszlo Kover, it’s now clear that after his latest extempore most of them got some idea of the second man in Fidesz’s hierarchy.

    Laszlo Kover said a lot of not amicable words in his interview for the Czech daily.
    For instance, one has to ask where he got that “Slovakia brutally changed the borders when building the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam”.

    Gabčíkovo – Nagymaros waterworks was a joint project of Slovakia and Hungary on the river Danube signed in 1977. It was unilaterally abandoned by Hungary in 1992 at time when the works were 70% complete on Slovak side and 30% on Hungarian side. Hungary proclaimed the treaty invalid and requested for all the works to be halt and all return to its initial state.

    It is wildely purported that in Hungary, an aversion for Gabčíkovo – Nagymaros dam became a symbol of resistance against communist regime and thus subject to internal political dispute. It found its way to the agenda of many Hungarian parties, including Fidesz.

    Hungarian government turned to the International Court of Justice in 1993 to approbate its decision to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty. What a shock it must have been when in 1997 the International Court of Justice decided that such claims were invalid, that Hungary was not entitled to unilaterally abandon the project and that it was oblidged to pay the damages inflicted to Slovakia.


    Orbán would indeed make a good decision if he stopped digging up political points at least in this single matter. If Hungary made a decision to return in some way to the common project, it would not only be beneficial for Danube transport, but would also help to diversify Hungary’s energy souces. Not to mention plenty of work opportunities created for many years to come.
    Or isn’t it that one of Orbán’s goals is to reduce unemployment? What would be a better choice in such situation than to return to the meaninful project abandoned on purely political ground?

  • Anon600AD

    I read this tonight and turned to my wife (who is Hungarian) and said “Well, Hungary is going to invade Slovakia…what do you have to say about that?”

    She shrugged, laughed and said “ok”.


  • Agrippa

    Our government did not waste a time over this, our prime minister did not waste a time over this, our president did not waste a time over this, our head chief of parliament said 10 sentence, so I guess why your mass-media attain to this article much more interest that is offered in Slovakia? Maybe our head-chief had right. Only used for distract attention from not very pleasant international post of Hungary currently.
    For us the words of a politician looking like a street musician in Budapest and language and behaviour like a peasant from Alfold does not bring any emotions.

  • Martin

    Well from a Slovak perspective, Hungarian politician looks really crazy. More and more Slovak citizens of Hungarian ethnicity share same opinion. This laughable Kover guy is so similar to some Meciar (Slovak post-socialist politician of 90’s) doggies.

  • Viking

    Hungary’s Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Köver was a heavy dude in the old Communist Party before Fidesz became the entry ticket into power, no one has digged up some dirt on Köver that he was indeed working with the “Gabčíkovo – Nagymaros waterworks was a joint project of Slovakia and Hungary on the river Danube signed in 1977” and pushing its completion on the Hungarian side?
    He was in the same Communist student union as Gyurcsány so they were playmates before

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