Former Hungarian Ambassador to US Joins DC-Based Think Tank
Hungary’s former ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi, has been appointed as executive vice-president of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a DC-based think-tank dedicated to the study of central and eastern Europe.
Peter Doran, CEPA’s President and CEO, said of the former ambassador: “She is one of central Europe’s leading Atlanticist voices who embodies CEPA’s mission and vision.”
Likewise, CEPA Chairman Larry Hirsch heaped praise upon the former ambassador, saying in a press release that
We are delighted to have Réka join the CEPA team, as I know she will continue to work tirelessly to promote a deeper, more enduring relationship between Europe and the United States.
According to its own website, CEPA is a “non-partisan public policy research institution dedicated to the study of Central and Eastern Europe, with offices in Washington and Warsaw, whose “mission is to promote an economically vibrant, strategically secure, and politically free Central and Eastern Europe with close and enduring ties to the United States.”
Szemerkényi was succeeded by Laszlo Szabo in July 2017. Szabo previously served as deputy minister of foreign affairs and trade from 2014-2017.
When it was first announced that Szemerkényi would be replaced, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stirred up a degree of controversy; when asked by a reporter about Szemerkényi’s recall (which some claimed was related to her inability to convince the US to support the government’s controversial “Lex CEU” higher-education legislation), he responded that “I don’t deal with women’s issues.”
CEPA Criticism of Obama-era Diplomacy
Speaking to Hungarian pro-government state news outlet M1, CEPA head Peter Doran criticized the diplomatic approach of the administration of former US President Barack Obama as leading to a deterioration in relations between the United States and Central Europe.
According to M1, Doran claimed that representatives of the Obama administration often spoke in rather derogatory terms about the domestic affairs of central European countries “over their heads.”
The new president of CEPA also argued that the Trump administration ‘aims to build strong ties with these countries based on mutual respect’, giving preference to security policy considerations.