Why is the topic relevant? Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has posted a video on his social networks supporting the national football team and its players. However, he also expressed his sympathy by using a controversial scarf depicting Greater Hungary, which includes, among other things, the whole of Slovakia and Transcarpathian Ukraine. This revisionist gesture was strongly condemned by neighbouring countries. The Slovak foreign minister aptly pointed out the dangerous parallel between Hungarian sentiment and the current war conflict, while Ukraine even decided to summon the Hungarian ambassador in response to the events. Yet this is far from the first time that Hungarian politicians have expressed themselves in this way. For example, the far-right MP Toroczkai congratulated Poland’s Independence Day by wishing that the countries would meet again on the common Hungarian-Polish border. In response to this recent incident, Ukraine has called on the Hungarian government to condemn these remarks. However, the Hungarian Prime Minister’s behaviour presents a completely opposite attitude.
Why is the current situation a risk for the Czech Republic? The Hungarian Government has repeatedly disseminated revisionist ideas in the public space, thereby radicalising society. This populist rhetoric, which targets the emotions and voices of (not only) the Hungarian minority, threatens the Czech Republic’s allies. In the context of the Russian-led offensive war in Ukraine, any hints of revisionism among EU Member States are completely unacceptable and inappropriate. Communication undermining state sovereignty and identity cannot be tolerated. Moreover, this provocative behaviour complicates the already complex relations within the Visegrad Four.
How should the Czech Republic proceed? The Government of the Czech Republic should take a clear critical position as soon as possible, as many European countries have already done. The behaviour of the Hungarian Prime Minister should be condemned and, at the same time, the Czech Republic should stand up for its allies in the region.