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Hungary demands answers after Swedish criticism

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Hungary demands answers after Swedish criticism
Péter Szijjártó. File photo: Jacquelyn Martin/TT
15:40 CEST+02:00
The Hungarian foreign affairs minister, Péter Szijjártó, has called on Sweden’s ambassador in Budapest to explain recent criticism from the Swedish government.
Attacking Sweden as “pro-immigration”, Szijjártó said he has summoned Sweden’s ambassador to Budapest, Niclas Trouvé, to explain comments by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Migration Minister Helene Fritzon.
 
On Wednesday, Wallström wrote on Twitter that “Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Matteo Salvini in Italy want to form an alliance against ‘the democrats and the left’ in Europe."
 
“I have one thing to say to them: bring it on,” Wallström added. 
 
The Swedish foreign minister was responding to an anti-migration manifesto launched by Orbán and Salvini in Milan on Tuesday. The two leaders pitted themselves as defenders of Europe against illegal immigration and called French President Emmanuel Macron their “main opponent” in that ideological battle. 
 
 
"There are currently two camps in Europe and one is headed by Macron," Orban said with Salvini at his side. "He is at the head of the political forces supporting immigration. On the other hand, we want to stop illegal immigration."
 
The French president was quick to fire back. 
 
"I will give no ground to nationalists and those who spread words of hate. If they want to see me as their main opponent, they're right," Macron retorted on a trip to Copenhagen.
 
Wallström was not the only Swedish minister to jump into the fray. Speaking at a seminar in southern Sweden, Fritzon said Hungary needed to step up and take in refugees as part of the EU’s shared policy. Fritzon also reportedly said that she reminded her Hungarian counterpart about Sweden’s acceptance of Hungarian refugees in the 1950s. 
 
“The pro-immigration Swedish Government has launched yet another attack against Hungary,” Szijjártó said in a statement released by the Hungarian government on Thursday
 
“Margot Wallström claimed that Viktor Orbán and Matteo Salvini are fighting against the democrats, i.e. against democracy, which is a lie,” he continued. “Viktor Orbán and Matteo Salvini were very clear: they are fighting against illegal immigration.”
 
Szijjártó also took issue with Fritzon drawing a comparison between the Hungarian refugees of 1956 and today’s migration into Europe. 
 
“In 1956, the Hungarian refugees waited in neighbouring countries for a state to receive them, while conforming to national and international law”, he said, going on to accuse Fritzon of “falsifying history”.
 
Szijjártó said that Trouvé will be asked to explain the comments of the Swedish ministers.
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