Hungarian Government Rebuffs US Ambassador Colleen Bell's Criticism
Hungary has already discussed the most recent concerns raised by US Ambassador Colleen Bell with the European Union, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. Szijjártó said in a statement that the Hungarian government “has heard many times” the concerns raised by the US Ambassador at a lecture she gave at the Budapest Corvinus University on Wednesday, adding that these concerns “are nothing new”.
Colleen Bell has harshly criticized recently the policy of Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s government, saying among others that “systematic corruption” and “xenophobic characterizations of refugees as invaders” are a serious concern in Hungary”. The US Ambassador also raised concerns, among others, over Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant upgrade project, the changes to the Hungarian election law and the country’s law and tax and regulatory environment. Few days earlier Colleen Bell paid a visit to Hungary’s legendary Hortobágy region, where she attended the St. Demetrius festival and delivered a speech about the importance of environmental protection.
The Hungarian Foreign minister said in response that since Hungary is a member state of the EU and not the United States, “the issues raised by the ambassador will be discussed with the European Union, in fact, we have already discussed them.” “We know that the US would like to see more and more migrants in Europe, clearly this was why they addressed the issue, however, Hungary remains the only European country that was able to stop the flow of migrants on its border,” Szijjártó said. Meanwhile cabinet chief János Lázár told a press briefing that Hungary “does not want to take in or allow anyone to pass through the country” even if the US Ambassador may request this. He said Hungary is a member of the EU and not the United States and “would not tolerate interference by any non-EU member state.”