21/05/13 00:34 CET
| updated xx mn ago
| updated at xx
The smiles may be slightly forced when Germany’s Angela Merkel and Hungary’s Viktor Orban meet at Wednesday’s EU summit following a spat between their governments over comments littered with military – and Nazi – analogies.
In response to criticism of his government, Hungary’s prime minister said on Friday he hoped Germany would not send any more “tanks”, as last time “it didn’t work out”.
The clear reference to World War II, and the Nazi occupation from March 1944 onwards, came the day after Merkel said Germany would “do everything to put Hungary onto the right path” – except sending in the “cavalry”.
The Chancellor’s comments are seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to remarks by the German opposition leader Peer Steinbruck. In 2009 he mentioned the “cavalry” while encouraging measures against Swiss tax havens, and in the discussion with Merkel raised the idea of throwing Hungary out of the EU for alleged undemocratic reforms.
Somehow any irony intended has become lost, and relations between Budapest and Berlin remain strained. The German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has described Orban’s comments as a “regrettable derailment”.
Some European leaders have criticised Hungary’s new constitution, saying it threatens freedom and democracy. Changes include restrictions to the Constitutional Court’s powers and election campaigning.
Orban’s conservative coalition has a two-thirds majority in parliament, enabling it to pass controversial legislation.
The prime minister argues the constitutional changes are necessary to eradicate the legacy of communism from Hungary.
- 1Eurozone ministers agree “breakthrough” deal with Greece
- 2The nuclear waste site at the heart of Canada’s wildfires
- 3Turkey warns EU migrant deal could collapse if visa-waiver isn’t speeded up
- 4Kurdish-led militias launch offensive against ISIL-held Raqqa
- 5More fuel frustration as French pickets refuse to back down
- 1The nuclear waste site at the heart of Canada’s wildfires
- 2Brazil in crisis after leaked tape forces out interim President’s ally
- 3EgyptAir crash: suggestions of explosion on board ‘mere assumptions’ – official
- 4A handshake, a kiss and a hug at historic meeting of Catholic and Muslim leaders
- 5French union blockades spark petrol shortages
- 1EgyptAir crash: airline says Flight MS804 wreckage found
- 2Venezuela economy fractured with shortages of essentials across the country
- 3The nuclear waste site at the heart of Canada’s wildfires
- 4Crimean Tatars look for Eurovision boost on day of national tragedy
- 5Emergency response: inside Ecuador’s disaster zones
Latest world news
Ukrainian pilot Savchenko back in Kyiv after 2 years in Russian jail
Mary Beard wins Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences
France: CGT union calls for further strikes
Road collapse plunges parked cars into Florence underwater pipe
Ukraine pilot Nadiya Savchenko ‘has arrived in Kyiv’ in prisoner swap with Russia
Wires > News
- 16:36 CET Italy navy says migrant boat flipped, five dead
- 16:32 CET Insight – ‘Living in Germany’: a testing time for Merkel’s migrants
- 16:29 CET French, Italian firms to help search for EgyptAir black boxes
- 16:15 CET Japan PM protests against Okinawa incident at summit with Obama
- 16:01 CET Mugabe supporters rally in Zimbabwe amid tensions over succession
- 15:59 CET Trump, aiming to offset money disadvantage, escalates Clinton…
- 15:33 CET Israeli rights group accuses military of whitewashing soldiers‘…
- 15:15 CET Merkel says more time needed on EU-Turkey visa deal