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Hungary’s Foreign Minister calls on European Commission first Vice President Timmermans to resign

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Article originally published on Daily News Hungary.

Hungary, Budapest – Hungary’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Péter Szijjártó, has called on European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans to resign in light of his accusation of anti-Semitism made against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government.

Szijjártó told a news conference on Friday, May 5, that the accusation made by Timmermans in an interview was “unworthy and unacceptable”, adding that “Hungary has done the most in Europe against anti-Semitism”. “We introduced the memorial day dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and renovated synagogues, not only in Hungary but beyond our borders too, as well as making Holocaust denial a criminal offense,” Szijjártó said. “The Hungarian constitutional system placed on new foundations guarantees the security of Hungarian Jewry which forms a part of the Hungarian nation, and the Hungarian Jewish community can always count on the respect, friendship and protection of the government,” he added. “We have declared zero tolerance for anti-Semitism,” the minister said.

He said the accusation by Timmermans was a serious infringement of Hungary, and if an EU official “seriously infringes a member state on such an issue then there is no other option than for him to resign from his position.” Szijjártó called the first vice president “a coward”, saying that his remarks in his interview to Die Zeit were “grave and indeed unfounded”. Rather than making them to Orbán face to face “he made them later when no one could respond forthwith”. Timmermans argued that Orbán’s referral to US financier George Soros as “an American financial speculator” during his recent speech in the European Parliament constituted “clear anti-Semitism”. Szijjártó said it was true that Hungary had serious disputes with Soros but these had “nothing to do with his origin or religion”.