A Visegrad Group conference on the Future of Europe scheduled for January 23-25 in Budapest will be put off until after the Hungarian general election in April after the invitation of British political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos sparked controversy.
The conference “represents an extraordinary opportunity to analyse the full array of political and cultural processes as well as to put our identity-creating cultural values in the limelight which, in addition to contributing to
Among the invited speakers are sociologist Frank Furedi; publisher, publicist and philosopher Gotz Kubitschek; philosopher Pascal Bruckner, author of France and Islam; and Sandor Csanyi, Chairman
The opposition Democratic Coalition said the government was promoting the conference as a scholarly and cultural event but the invited speakers were “disgraceful and absolutely unacceptable from the point of view of human rights, the rule of law and the anti-fascist and anti-Nazi traditions of Europe". Yiannopoulos is an “openly, provocatively anti-minority, anti-Semitic representative of the American alt-right toting a Nazi attitude,” MP Agnes Vadai said.
Fidesz MP’s and conservative intellectuals had cited the importance of freedom of speech and of having a diverse range of lecturers, while opposition parties and left-leaning websites highlighted Yiannopoulos' comments on paedophilia.
"The Future of Europe, as well as the topics on its agenda and the speakers invited, have become part of the partisan political struggles underway in view of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. That makes it impossible for a free debate of differing opinions and outlooks to take place undisturbedly”, said a statement on the event’s website. The conference will now be held in May.