The replacement of French Ambassador to Hungary Éric Fournier is not related to the leaked memo in which he praised Viktor Orban’s policies, France expert Eszter Petronella Soos pointed out on her website, Franciapolitika.com.
As we previously reported, on June 18, Fournier sent a diplomatic memo to the French ministry of foreign affairs, and it was leaked by Mediapart on June 29. According to Fournier, France should change its opinion of Viktor Orban, because he’s not a populist and definitely not an extremist.
He wrote that the so-called „populist” measures of the government are just media fabrications, which are fueled by the „Hungarophobia” of the press. He called Hungary the modern political world’s Real Madrid, because Viktor Orban has won the elections three times in a row. According to the diplomat, the „rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary” is fiction, and it only distracts from the „anti-Semitism of Muslims in Germany and France”. He stressed that the anti-Soros campaign is not anti-Semitic, and Orban’s migration policy is a model. A journalist of Mediapart asked Emmanuel Macron about this leak at the press conference he held after the summit of the European Council in Brussels. Macron – who reacted rather indignantly – said he completely disagrees with everything quoted from the letter and he doesn’t accept Viktor Orban’s political line. He said the memo won’t have any consequences for Fournier, because it was confidential, but he would we sacked if he said it publicly.
Macron has replaced Fournier, the official announcement was published on Saturday. His place will be taken by former OECD Ambassador Pascale Andréani. According to various press reports the two events are linked, but Soos reminded on her website that even though the announcement was released on June 30, it was signed by Macron on June 28, so one day before the Mediapart leak. She also reminded that Fournier has been in office since 2015 and he has spoken publicly about the fact that he would soon leave Budapest.
In a statement on Monday, a French Foreign Affairs spokeswoman told Euronews in a statement that Fournier’s “departure is part of a general movement of ambassadors.” “Mrs Pascale Andréani will succeed him shortly, following the approval received from Hungarian authorities on 18 May 2018,” she added.