The French ambassador to Hungary, Eric Fournier, came under fire after the publication of pro-Orban comments. He has been replaced by Macron, a recipient of the infamous Kalergi Prize, who fired his ambassador to Hungary after the publication of a document praising the patriotic migration policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The public dispute came amid a deepening crisis in the European Union on how to shape the future of migration in the bloc, with the left wing liberal policies of France and Germany clashing with conservative policies of countries such as Hungary and Poland.
What the document said:
Ambassador Eric Fournier wrote a memo to the Elysee that was published by French investigative site Mediapart, saying:
- Hungary was a “model” for dealing with migrants, which had “anticipated the problems posed by illegal migratory movements”
- Accusations of populism against the democratically-elected Orban were fabrications of the “Anglo-Saxon and French media”
- Media outlets were attempting to divert attention from the “real anti-Semitism” coming from “Muslims in France and Germany” by accusing Hungary of anti-Semitism.
When Macron was alerted to the publication at an EU summit in Brussels last week, he said Fournier would be fired if it emerged that that he had intended the comments to be published.
According to Macron, who is parading as a centre right President with his left wing policies, “(Orban’s) non-cooperative and nationalist game is not only unworthy of what Europe has done, (…) but it is also deeply inefficient given the reality of these migratory phenomena. It wastes our time given that we will have to live with these challenges over the long term,” he was quoted as saying by French broadcaster BFM TV.
An official government gazette later revealed Pascale Andreani would replace Fournier as ambassador.
Public spat: Pro Immigration Macron has repeatedly clashed with Orban and other Eastern European leaders, accusing them of not respecting democratic values and refusing to take in migrants. Macron spent time at last week’s EU summit with the Visegrad group, which is led by Hungary, trying to bring them back into the EU’s fold. The public spat would be seen as a victory for Orban.