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Hungary’s Government Laments ‘US Anti-Graft Action Plan’

Tamás Székely 2014.12.17.

A foreign country preparing an anti-corruption action plan for Hungary without consultations with the government is cause for concern from the point of view of Hungary’s sovereignty, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in parliament. US chargé d’affaires André Goodfriend was summoned to the ministry to consult about a Monday statement by Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall, he noted.

Sewall said that embassies in two dozen countries in central and eastern Europe are currently drafting action plans for supporting and cooperating on anti-corruption reform in their host country. André Goodfriend was told that Hungary considered external support for civil organisations in order to exercise pressure on a democratically elected government of another country to be wrong.

Meanwhile a Hungarian cabinet official has raised concerns about US anti-graft plans in central and eastern Europe in Brussels. Cabinet state secretary for European affairs Szabolcs Takács said at a meeting of the General Affairs Council that Hungary was concerned that one of Europe’s most important allies was preparing an action plan in central and eastern Europe without consulting the governments of the countries affected. “We can regard all this as a violation of sovereignty if the news is correct,” he told Hungarian reporters after the meeting.

The Hungarian government regards the fight against corruption to be very important, he added. However, the government does not consider it correct if another country supports NGOs in order to try to undermine the integrity of the democratically elected government on any kind of matter, Szabolcs Takács said. “This is not in anyone’s interest,” he said, adding that representatives of the other member states had acknowledged Hungary’s concerns while signalling that the planned US action concerned other countries too, including 7-9 EU member states.

via hungarymatters.hu photo: Zsolt Szigetváry – MTI