Budapest, Hungary – Croatia has summoned the Hungarian ambassador in Zagreb over comments from Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In a recent interview on Hungarian public radio, Orban appeared to justify Hungary’s decision to block EU sanctions on Russian energy imports by its landlocked status.
“Those who have a sea and ports are able to bring oil on tankers. If they hadn’t taken it away from us, we would also have a port,” he said. The Premier was referring to a small part of the Adriatic Sea coast that used to be part of Hungary until the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, which sanctioned the dismemberment of Hungarian territory, and is located in modern-day Croatia.
“We condemn any territorial aspiration against other sovereign countries,” the Croatian Foreign Ministry reacted in a statement earlier this week.
Hungarian authorities claimed that Croatia had “misunderstood” Orban’s comments and said that “the Prime Minister mentioned a historic fact”.
“We hope that our Croatian friends will not give in to press hysteria,” Foreign Ministry state secretary Tamas Menczer said on Facebook.
Hungary lost about two-thirds of its territory at the end of World War I, and the Treaty of Trianon has remained a deep national trauma more than a century later.
Prime Minister Orban regularly refers to former Hungarian territory lost in 1920 and has made the protection of the millions of ethnic Hungarians now living in neighbouring countries – including Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, or Croatia – a key pillar of his nationalist rhetoric.
In 2020, Budapest sparked the ire of its neighbours after Orban posted a map of Greater Hungary on his Facebook page, igniting fears of Hungarian irredentism in the region.
The Hungarian government however denies it has any intention to reclaim lands lost more than a hundred years ago, most of which are now part of other EU and NATO countries.