Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth commented as follows after meeting with the Hungarian Ambassador Péter Györkös today in Berlin (11 April):
The Hungarian Ambassador and I spoke openly and amicably today. I took the opportunity to express our concern regarding the amendment of the Hungarian Act on Higher Education. The amendment targets the Central European University directly. For this reason, I too made it clear that we view this amendment, which was moreover adopted using a fast-track procedure, with incomprehension. Incomprehension does not however mean that we are at a loss for words. It has to be possible for European partners to address even difficult issues in a spirit of reason. We must talk to each other, not about each other.
I informed the Hungarian Ambassador that we are honestly worried by many of the things happening in Hungary at the moment. The European Union is above all a community of shared values, which can only function if all of us resolutely uphold and defend those values. It is our observation that Hungary is increasingly on a collision course with the EU and its institutions, and is also espousing views at international level that do not reflect the EU consensus. In the Council of Europe, in particular, Hungary is increasingly the retarding force as regards human rights issues such as LGBTI. Significant doubts also exist as to whether the new stricter Hungarian legalislation on asylum is in any way compatible with EU and international law. Nevertheless, I still think it is important for Hungary to understand why we are so concerned. That was the goal of today’s talks.
Minister of State Roth regularly holds talks with the ambassadors of the various EU countries. Today’s meeting with the Hungarian Ambassador was part of this series.