After a top German government official called for sanctions on Hungary, Justice Minister Judit Varga wrote for Die Welt in response that demonizing Hungary at a time when all European governments are doing what they think is best to combat the coronavirus pandemic is simply wrong.
Varga’s guest column on the portal of German national daily Die Welt was directed at a guest column of Michael Roth, the minister of state for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called for sanctions against Hungary for “going against democratic principles and the rule of law” and claimed that the government has taken on unjustified powers.
“I am very tempted to explain in detail once more how wrong the statement of the German politician is, but I have already done it many times and in many places and it seems that Michael Roth neither wants to hear nor see these arguments,” Varga wrote. “The question is what are his reasons and where this is supposed to lead.”
She said Roth’s attack against Hungary was clearly designed to discredit Hungary as much as possible at a pivotal time when a decision about the European Union’s budget for the next seven years is set to be made and consequently reduce the country’s bargaining position.
Varga says Roth is attacking Hungary exactly a time when all member states should strive for consensus, without which there can be no agreement.
“It is quite inconceivable that money should be taken away from emerging states and that money given to the richer states. This strategy requires the demonization of the countries concerned,” Varga said, adding that just two months before Germany is scheduled to assume the revolving residency of the European Union that this is clearly not the way to go.
As Remix News has previously reported, a number of other countries have implemented similar measures as Hungary to combat the coronavirus crisis. Furthermore, many of Hungary’s restrictive measures have made pains to ensure certain elements of civil liberties remain in place for Hungarian citizens. Italy has canceled elections and Spain is using drones to warn violators of the country’s curfew and social distancing rules. Nobody is claiming that these countries are dictatorships or deserve sanctions.
Despite Roth’s polemical attack on Hungary during a time when all countries are seeking to combat the coronavirus outbreak, Varga still wants to maintain a strong relationship with Germany.
“Germany, as neutral mediator, has often managed to forge consensus regarding sensitive issues at critical times. [Germany] can continue to count on Hungary as a reliable partner with shared interests and basic values,” Varga wrote.