Photo: US Embassy

US ambassador thinks world powers are big admirers of Hungary

Secret’s out of the bag

Hungary is attracting "a great deal of attention" from global powers such as the United States, China and Russia, US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein has told billionaire John Catsimatidis on his "CATS Roundtable" New York radio show. According to Cornstein Hungary and the central European region "all of a sudden became very, very attractive".

“The Chinese like them, the Russians like them and of course they’re a member of NATO, so the United States likes them a lot as well,” Cornstein said of Hungary. Asked about the state of the European Union, the ambassador said: “If you think that we have a polarised situation here in America, it’s an understatement compared to what’s going on in Europe.”

Divisive issues like immigration have pitted “East against the West, the North against the South, the liberals against conservative governments”, Cornstein said. “Certain countries like Germany say ‘let’s just let everybody into the country’, and then you get a country like Hungary that says, ‘Hey, wait a minute. I want to keep this country Hungarian and I’m not interested in bringing a lot of new people into the country, especially people from Africa’, so to speak.”

Asked about border policies within the bloc, the ambassador said they depended on the country in question. “You have a leader in Hungary that’s a very, very forceful leader. He is not ready to open borders until it’s safe. Right now, with the virus, everything was closed.”

Cornstein said Hungary was “very successful” in fighting the virus, and has had “hardly any cases in a relative sense” and “very few deaths as well”.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “is not very much interested in open borders” and “would like to have the people that he thinks would be good for the country come into the country”, whether they be tourists or someone who would permanently settle.

Asked about Russia’s influence in Hungary, Cornstein said Hungary’s close relationship with Russia is mainly due to geographic proximity and an “energy dependence”. But, he believed that Hungary does not “have a love really for Russia and what they represent”.

He called Hungary “the best kept secret in the world”, saying that in spite of its welcoming people, good food and relatively low cost of living, it is less known abroad.

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