“All is fair in love and war”, as the proverb says. Let’s leave aside love and turn regard on war. Modern wars increasingly often find the battlefield in the economic, diplomatic, religious and other spheres. Even ecology is not an exception for confrontation. However, let’s start from pre-history.
The diplomatic scandal around the ethnic population of the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine and their rights has been smoldering for a long time between Ukraine and Hungary, particularly the Hungarian nationalists led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Recently it became known that the Hungarian consulate issues in secret their national passports to the Ukrainian citizens. Naturally, such actions were condemned by the European institutions and the leading states. In response, the Hungarian side repaired to play on ecological safety of Europe.
River Tysa, which is one of the largest inflows of Danube, originates in Ukraine and before falling into Danube goes through several countries including Hungary. Hungarian defenders suddenly took care of the water condition originating from the Ukrainian territory. They found huge amount of heavy metals, harmful chemistry and household waste, in particular plastic bottles there. That’s why it became a new stumbling block in Ukraine-Hungary relations.
Today main ‘accuser’ of Ukraine is Hungarian eco-activist Gergely Hankó. He was also among organizers of unusual performance: making boats and canoe from the bottles fished out of the river and rafting down the river on them. The future of these “means of swimming” is unknown, possibly, they continue poisoning river banks in a more structured form.
The main Mr. Hankó’s argument against Ukraine is a case of spring, 2015, when a large volume of garbage fell into the river in consequence of heavy floods. The Hungarian part restricted themselves to recording the event and taking many shots of dirty river while they turned on the HPP taps and made garbage a problem of their neighbors. At the same time, both Ukrainian and Romanian experts reported about no registered fact of cross-border pollution of the river basin.
We can’t say for sure whether Mr. Hankó’s activity has strictly mercantile features. Possibly, that is manifestation of his altruistic nature, and he really bother about river condition. However, the actions of Hungarian government are by no means altruistic. They have their own goals, the main among which is to retain power. To this end, they use such drastic measures as issuing Hungarian passports to Ukrainians with a view to draw national minorities as their main electorate in advance of upcoming elections. For the same purpose, they make advances to nationalists and are ready to confront the whole Europe and NATO.
Frankly speaking, Ukraine and Hungary are on the brink of mutual expulsion of diplomats that is a very serious step. However, position of Hungarian part in this conflict is the most unflattering, due to propaganda of the nationalist ideas, confrontation with other states, and many other facts. Here tame “ecologist” is needed, he will tell how Ukraine poisons the European rivers and why it is impossible to conduct constructive dialogue with them as their authorities don’t care about citizens of other states. By the way, ideas of ecological safety in Europe advert more and more supporters.
It’s too prematurely to give forecasts as to the end of this confrontation. Most probably, the Hungarian government relies on the support of Russia and their allies in Europe, therefore behaves so aggressively. The main thing the European politicians may assure today is prevent making them fool by high-minded statements, which disguise quite mercenary incentives.