A diplomatic row between two NATO and EU allies, has left the Hungarian President stranded on the border with Slovakia. President Laszlo Solyom cancelled a planned visit when Slovakia said he was not welcome. Bratislava said Hungary’s role in the Soviet invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia 41 years ago meant Solyom’s trip was a provocation.
“Under the laws of the European Union and the Slovak Republic, I have refused to allow Mr Solyom, President of Hungary, to enter the Slovak Republic on August 21, 2009, the anniversary of the Soviet invasion,” said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. Solyom had intended to visit Komarno, an ethnically-Hungarian town in Slovakia to unveil a statue. Bratislava said he would be welcome on any other day. There have been frequent diplomatic clashes about the treatment of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia, and relations worsened after the right-wing Slovak National Party joined the government in Bratislava in 2006. It’s not Solyom’s first diplomatic row: in March he was refused permission to land in Romania when he hoped to celebrate Hungarian National Day with ethnic Hungarians there.