A report by Germany’s Spiegel Online, according to which Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel of using Nazi methods, was incorrect, a senior Foreign Ministry official told MTI on Monday evening.
Deputy state secretary Gergely Prohle noted that Peer Steinbrueck, the Social Democrats’ candidate in the autumn elections, raised the possibility of excluding Hungary from the European Union in a televised debate with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. In response, Merkel defended Hungary and, referring to an earlier statement by Steinbrueck about Switzerland, she said it was “not necessary to send in the cavalry right away,” Prohle added.
In response to the cavalry comment, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Friday radio interview that “the Germans have in the past sent the cavalry against Hungary, in the form of tanks, and we ask them now not to send them again. It was not a good idea, it did not work.”
“Orban actually commented on Steinbrueck’s words and not Merkel’s,” Prohle said.
Contrary to Spiegel Online, “nobody would interpret this as a realistic possibility,” he said.
Earlier on Monday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticised Orban’s remark in Belgrade, calling it a “deplorable derailment which we clearly reject”.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz told Spiegel Online that he was sure that Orban “understood very well that the chancellor sent a rather ironic reprimand to Hungary”.
Orban’s statement was also criticised by CDU lawmaker Ruprecht Polenz, deputy group leader of the opposition Social Democrats Alex Schaefer, and parliamentary group leader of the Greens Juergen Trittin.