Friday, November 27, 2009

Berlin's Poison-Pen Letter (German diplomatic arm-twisting of Hungary)

Newsletter 2009/11/25 - Berlin's Poison-Pen Letter

BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Own report) - The Hungarian media reacted with estrangement to Germany and eight other western nations' diplomatic arm-twisting of Hungary. Through their embassies, the nine countries admonished Budapest with a public protest note, following Hungarian measures against West European and US companies operating in Hungary. A water company lost its lucrative franchise in a southern Hungarian city, because of overpricing and suspicion of irregularities while the German chaired European Bank for Reconstruction and Development along with a US company had to give up the radio frequencies of their stations to their rivals. The protest note was considered a very "unusual step and a venturous interference," an affront, to which the prime minister gave an immediate public response. He said he would take into consideration the objections of the West Europeans and Americans. This procedure shows clearly, to what extent Hungary has become economically dependent, above all, on Berlin. The mere threat of a withdrawal of investments is enough to force Budapest to enact new legislation.