Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament Gergely Gulyás met members of the US House of Representatives and leaders of civil organisations on the first day of a three-day visit to Washington, DC on Wednesday.
Aiming to discuss US-Hungarian relations and the challenges facing the EU and NATO “in as wide a circle as possible”, Gergely Gulyás held talks with Republican Congressmen Chris Smith of New Jersey, Dennis Ross of Florida and Steve King of Iowa as well as Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. He also met the deputy head of the Heritage Foundation, the head of the Family Research Council and representatives of other organisations. Speaking to Hungarian news agency MTI by phone late on Wednesday local time, the prominent ruling Fidesz politician said that a bipartisan delegation of the House of Representatives is to visit Hungary in autumn.
US-Hungarian cooperation is optimal in economic and security policy as well as on military issues, but diplomatic ties are “lagging sorely behind”, Gulyás said. The approach of the past eight years’ Democratic administration, which “placed ideological questions before practical matters and intruded unduly into the inner politics of many countries”, still holds sway over Washington’s foreign policy, Gulyás said.
The U.S. Embassy in Hungary is
unfortunately a hurdle in establishing correct communication between the countries,
Gulyás said citing the embassy’s criticism of the Hungarian law on the transparency of foreign-funded NGOs. The law, passed earlier this month, requires NGOs receiving foreign donations above a certain threshold to register as organisations funded from abroad.Gulyas said the US’ criticism of the law had come in spite of the Hungarian government’s acceptance of parts of the Venice Commission’s report and prior coordination with the US embassy itself. The Hungarian law is now actually closer to US legislation on the issue than it had been before, Gulyás insisted.
Migration is another issue where the Hungarian standpoint is very close to that of the current U.S. President, Gulyás said. The Hungarian Parliament’s Deputy Speaker said his visit was marked by openness towards an agreement with Hungarian politics. “The negative media coverage notwithstanding, many realise that these articles do not tell the truth”, he said.
UPDATE: Hungarian Socialist MEP also pays visit to Washington DC
Hungarian Socialist Member of the European Parliament István Ujhelyi met leading members of the Trump administration and members of the US Congress in Washington, DC, his Brussels office said in a statement on Thursday.
In his talks with leaders of the US National Tourism Office and members of Congress, Ujhelyi assured his negotiating partners that Hungary’s “next government”, to be led by the Socialist Party’s László Botka, would strengthen Hungary’s commitment to Western democracy, the statement said.
“Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz party’s illiberal Putinist rampage has brought Hungary’s transatlantic relations to an all-time low over the last few years,” the statement quoted Ujhelyi as saying. But the Botka government “will restore our country’s honour in the eyes of our allies”, he said.
Ujhelyi also vowed that a Socialist government would scrap “legislative measures that go against the principle of the rule of law and democratic values” such as the higher education amendment tightening regulations on foreign universities in Hungary and the law on the transparency of foreign-funded NGOs and would “keep Hungary in the EU’s mainstream”.
Ujhelyi also addressed the opening ceremony of a culture festival organised by the Smithsonian Institution.