Zsolt Petry – Photo: wikipedia

Foreign ministry summons German diplomat over Hungarian coach’s dismissal

Hungary's foreign ministry has summoned the German embassy's charge d'affaires over a German soccer team's firing of a Hungarian coach because of his recent comments concerning migration and same-sex marriage.

Hertha BSC on Tuesday dismissed goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry in the wake of an interview with Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, saying that his remarks went against the team’s positions on tolerance and inclusion.

Foreign ministry state secretary Levente Magyar on Thursday voiced the Hungarian government’s “shock” that anyone could face “existential retaliation in Germany for expressing their opinion within a legal framework”.

“Like Hungary, Germany has first-hand experience from history of what it is like when the freedom of expression is repressed,” Magyar said. This, he said, meant that both countries had a duty to safeguard the right to the freedom of speech.

Hungary considers any restriction to the freedom of expression “unacceptable”, the state secretary said, arguing that the practice was reminiscent of a regime “that thousands of our compatriots died fighting”.

Magyar said Germany remained a key partner for Hungary with which it aimed to have honest discussions on important issues that affect the two countries’ shared future.

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