The Alienator

Prime Minister Orbán (center) arrives for his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University (photo: Viktor Orbán Facebook page).

Prime Minister Orbán (center) arrives for his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp (photo: Viktor Orbán Facebook page).

Following his annual speech at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp (Nyári Szabadegyetem és Diáktábor) in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania, on July 25, 2015, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary put photos of the event on his personal Facebook page (source in Hungarian). These photos included an image of lapel pins being sold at the summer university, some of which depict the Greater Hungary—which included Transylvania and other territories that are now part of Romania—that existed for 500 years during the Middle Ages (until 1526) and reemerged for 50 years at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (until 1918).

Photo from Prime Minister Orbán's Facebook page.

Photo from Prime Minister Orbán’s Facebook page.

On July 27, Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested Prime Minister Orbán’s display of these images of Greater Hungary on its Facebook page, declaring that “Unfortunately, only one day after he called for pragmatism and ‘efficent’ Romanian-Hungarian relations, Hungarian Prime Minister V. Orban chose to post on his Facebook account images including symbols of Greater Hungary and of the Székely Land. The Hungarian prime minister’s personal promotion of these revisionist symbols is completely unacceptable . . .” (source in Romanian).

Later on July 27, the Orbán government issued the following response on its website (source in English):

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has criticised Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for uploading pictures on his Facebook page which it says depict revisionist symbols. Responding to a question on the issue from Hungarian news agency MTI, Press Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office Bertalan Havasi said that the images are of historical symbols. 

During a television interview later that evening, Prime Minister Victor Ponta of Romania characterized Prime Minister Orbán as “offensive” and “provocative” (source A in Hungarian and source B in Romanian).

One can add the Ponta government in Romania to the long list of national governments and international organizations that Prime Minister Orbán has alienated through his short-sighted nationalism since returning to power in 2010. 

For information regarding Prime Minister Orbán’s 2015, 2014 and 2013 speeches at the Tusványos Summer University and Student Camp see: He Talks Again; Proclamation of the Illiberal Hungarian State; and The Friends You Keep.

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