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Hungary PM’s Football Scarf Sparks Diplomatic Row; All About Controversy & Why Romania, Ukraine are Angry


Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban has come under attack from Romania and Ukraine for wearing a football scarf featuring a map of historical Hungary, including parts of the two countries and other neighbouring nations.

During a football match between Hungary and Greece on Sunday, the nationalist premier wore a controversial scarf that shows a map with the historical boundaries of Hungary before a post-World War I treaty.

The map’s outline includes parts of Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Orban posted a video of him wearing the scarf on Facebook.

Orban Under Attack

Romania’s foreign ministry has accused Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister of “revisionism”. On the other hand, Ukraine has demanded a “formal apology”.

“Any revisionist manifestation, regardless of the form it takes, is unacceptable, contrary to the current realities and commitments undertaken jointly by Romania and Hungary,” the Romanian foreign ministry said, according to BBC.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko tried to summon Hungary’s ambassador Mykhailo Yunher to inform him of the “unacceptability of Viktor Orban’s act”.

Slovakia’s foreign minister Rastislav Kacer has called Orban’s decision to wear the scarf “disgusting”. Meanwhile, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger presented Orban with a new scarf at an international summit.

“I noticed that Viktor Orbán has an old scarf, so I gave him a new one today,” Heger said.

Romania’s foreign ministry also called the move “revisionist”. “Any revisionist manifestation, no matter what form it takes, is unacceptable, against current realities and common commitments,” the foreign ministry reportedly said in a statement.

Why is The Scarf Controversial?

The scarf depicted the map of Greater Hungary, which existed before the First World War during which Austria-Hungary was defeated.

The map included modern-day countries including Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania.

These countries ceased to be a part of Germany’s former kingdom following the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.

Orban has regularly provoked controversies with neighbouring countries by harping on pre-World War I Hungary’s territory.

Around two million ethnic Hungarians live in the neighbouring countries, including 1.2 million in Romania and 150,000 in Ukraine.

Viktor Orban’s Response

Referring to the controversy, Orban made an appeal to not mix sports and politics and said the Hungarian national team was the team of all Hungarians wherever they live.

“Soccer is not politics. Do not read things into it that are not there. The Hungarian national team belongs to all Hungarians, wherever they live!” he wrote on Facebook.

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