Tags: hungary | nato | ambassador

The US Can Count on Hungary in the Fight for Our Common Values

The US Can Count on Hungary in the Fight for Our Common Values
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban talks with the press after he cast his ballot on May 26, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. (Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 July 2019 11:14 AM

Earlier this week, these pages featured an opinion column attributed to a former U.S. ambassador to Budapest calling Hungary a “former” ally that has turned “unsavory.”

Former? Hungary remains a staunch member of NATO, more than pulling our weight in terms of contributions to the alliance. We have embarked on our biggest military development program in the 29 years since the fall of the communist regime. It will gradually increase our spending on defense so that, as Prime Minister Orbán has promised, “we shall reach two per cent [of GDP] more or less by 2024.”

That will put us among what are only five countries in NATO that are fulfilling the two percent commitment. Right now, Hungary leads NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, which guards the airspace of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

“I can assure you,” said Prime Minister Orbán earlier this month at a U.S. Independence Day celebration, “that you can count on us in the fight for our common values, whether it be in the meeting rooms or on the battlefields.”

We have signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States that was, contrary to Ms. Brinker’s assertion, approved by Hungary’s National Assembly earlier this month.

Sadly, Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO has suffered not because of Hungary, as the author argues, but because of Ukraine’s own laws that violate ethnic minority rights. We will not apologize for prioritizing the rights of ethnic Hungarians living outside of Hungary and we will hold Ukraine accountable for making good on its own commitments.

During his visit in February, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. had been “prone to forgetting about Central Europe and abandoned this region.” Under the Trump Administration that is changing, and we’re delighted to have the United States back not only as an important strategic ally but also as our greatest source of foreign direct investment outside of Europe.

Dr. Zoltán Kovács is State Secretary for International Communication in the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister of Hungary. He began his political career as an elected member of the Debrecen City Council in 2006 and was later appointed State Secretary for Government Communications and Public Relations (2010–13) and State Secretary for Social Inclusion (2013–14), and later Spokesman for the Government of Hungary. He has been an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Debrecen since 2004. He holds a PhD in History and has gained a wide range of experience through international scholarships, including at the University of Oxford and the University of London.

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Earlier this week, these pages featured an opinion column attributed to a former U.S. ambassador to Budapest calling Hungary a “former” ally that has turned “unsavory.”
hungary, nato, ambassador
419
2019-14-30
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 11:14 AM
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