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Minister lashes back at Financial Times

On August 5, Financial Times published an editorial titled "Orbán warfare," outlining major criticisms towards Fidesz-led government and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Today the newspaper published a letter by Zoltán Kovács, Minister of State for Government Communication of Hungarian Ministry of Public Administration, in reponse to the editorial.

Kovács said "the Hungarian government is accountable to Hungary’s voters, not to foreign journalists, even if you decry this as “nationalism”. The government’s support at home remains solid. Hence its legitimacy, derived from the voters, is not in question," the letter reads.

According to Kovács, the unintended consequence of FT's editorial is strengthened support for a government that resists being pushed around by foreigners.

"Additionally," the letter continues, "your negative comment would have much more force if you had been equally critical of the 2002-10 leftwing Hungarian governments and their disastrous policies." Kovacs believes that FT applies double standards.  "Such inconsistency undermines criticism in Hungarian eyes," he adds "and this is what counts."

On a more specific subject, Kovács refutes that there were attempts to bring charges against the former premiers. "Rather, a recommendation has been made to the appropriate parliamentary committee to consider the grounds for charges to be brought. Nor, in the event, would any charges be brought retroactively: Hungary’s constitution would not allow this," he adds

"It is ironic that you presume sufficient knowledge of the legal basis to label the government’s actions as “legally spurious”, while at the same time demonstrating that you yourself have a very poor understanding of Hungarian law," the letter concludes.