Hungarian embassy employee might be responsible for leak discrediting Austrian President

A Hungarian diplomat may have leaked distorted and discrediting information about a closed-door meeting between Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and ambassadors of EU Member States, reports 444.hu.

Austrian tabloid daily Kronen Zeitung broke the news on Tuesday, citing the allegedly official minutes of the meeting, that Van der Bellen had called the chairman of the winner of the recent general elections in Austria, the Austrian People's Party's (ÖVP) Sebastian Kurz, "annoying".
Based on the report, the Austrian President allegedly called ÖVP's nominee for Chancellor, Kurz, an "annoying young man" who "hardly ever drinks alcohol, doesn't smoke and doesn't drink coffee either," and who would always be bound to the EU mainstream. According to Kronen Zeitung, Van der Bellen also disclosed confidential information to the ambassadors about the currently ongoing coalition talks between ÖVP and the far-right Freedom for Austria (FPÖ) party.
The tabloid daily also alleged that the President had rejected rumors he opposes the idea of including FPÖ in the government, but said he could block the ministerial candidates of FPÖ for an indefinite period. The tabloid asserted that Van der Bellen named Harald Vilimsky and Johann Gudenus, FPÖ's likely nominees for ministers of foreign and interior affairs respectively, whom he would definitely reject. Finally, the Austrian President was reported to have said he could imagine a minority government as well without the participation of FPÖ.
In reaction to the tabloid's claims, Van der Bellen issued a statement calling the article "misleading and absurd." Although he confirmed the authenticity of his statements about Vilimsky and Gudenus, the President insisted that he had only made good remarks about Kurz.
The President's Office started an investigation to identify the possible leakers, and according to Austrian liberal daily Der Standard, an employee of the Hungarian embassy in Vienna is suspected.
According to reliable sources of Der Standard, an unknown embassy employee attended the closed-door meeting instead of Ambassador János Perényi. The newspaper said the report had been badly translated from English. Passing through "several hands" numerous parts were supposedly modified and distorted before being sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest.
According to the organizer of the meeting between the Austrian President and the EU ambassadors, Estonian Ambassador to Austria Rein Oidekivi, the discussed topics were imprecisely portrayed in the leaked report and the public has been deceived by false information.
It is not yet known what might have been the motivation behind the leaking of the falsified information.
Source: 444.hu; Kronen Zeitung; budapestbeacon.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017 16:25