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Opposition parties call for European values, west-facing orientation

Opposition parties called on the government to strengthen European values and Hungary's west-facing orientation on the national holiday of August 20, named after state-founder king Saint Stephen.

The Democratic Coalition said in a statement that Hungarians had been a European nation ever since the founding of the state, yet currently “instead of our natural allies, only eastern dictators are willing to engage in dialogue with the Hungarian government”.

“When the Hungarian government is the only one in Europe that roots for Europe’s defeat in a war, we can be sure that they have let us down and our nation has been made to leave the path marked for us at the founding of our state,” it added.

Co-leader of the Socialists Agnes Kunhalmi said in a statement that when Saint Stephen had chosen a west-facing orientation for Hungary, “he made the right decision because instead of building from the past, he chose the future”.

Contrary to this, Hungary’s current regime celebrates from Saint Stephen’s heritage only the power of the state and the inseparable relation of church and state, she said.

Parbeszed said in a statement that commemorating the founding of the state should not involve “wasteful squandering of money, damaging the environment and health”. The party condemned the August 20 fireworks display, stating that “it is not fireworks that makes a nation great but the multitude of well-educated people”.

Momentum leader and group leader Ferenc Gelencser said in a video message that it was Hungarians’ decision to belong to the west rather than the east made a thousand years ago which should be celebrated on Aug 20. “What we celebrate is that our statehood links us to western democracies instead of eastern dictatorships,” he added.

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