Zoran Milanovic, Croatia’s prime minister, has said Hungary would apply double standards by convicting his deputy for a fatal driving offense on its territory while refusing to allow Zsolt Hernadi, the chief executive of oil group MOL, to be questioned in Croatia in connection with graft charges. Viktor Orban, his Hungarian counterpart, told journalists in Brussels on Friday that the two cases were incomparable.
Orban said, however, he did not want to whip up a diplomatic storm over Milanovic’s remark.
“Hungary and Croatia are joined by a mutual friendship and we have personal and good cooperation with the Croatian prime minister,” Orban said.
Milanovic made his comment on Thursday, before a Hungarian court sentenced Croatia’s deputy prime minister Radimir Cacic to a prison term of 22 months, suspended for three years, on Friday for causing a fatal road accident through negligence in Hungary two years ago.
Milanovic said Croatia was more respectful when it came to observing the law than Hungary was, adding that Croatia would respect the ruling on Cacic.
He said, however, that Hungary had earlier refused to allow Croatia’s Supreme Court to question Zsolt Hernadi, chairman and chief executive of Hungary’s state-owned oil and gas company, in connection with a corruption case.
“Our message is that we show more respect … We should look at who respects the law and justice and who only likes to talk about it,” he said.
Orban said he wanted to avoid stirring up conflict. He only commented fully on matters disrespectful towards Hungary, he said, adding that the cases were incomparable: in one two people were killed while the other was a business dispute.