Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell said bilateral relations are strong and dynamic, and she expects this to remain unchanged after the US presidential election. According to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, with Donald Trump a complete change in the US-Hungarian relationship is expected.
Bell told a panel discussion organised by the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy that she believes support for democratic values will remain an important principle of US foreign policy. She said Trump will have to continue close co-operation with the European Union and NATO. She did not expect US foreign policy, which is interested in a strong and stable Europe, to change significantly under Trump.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said Hungary refuses to have anything to do with the “pathetic hysteria which has swept through the European elite” after Trump’s win against Hillary Clinton. Szijjártó, speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union foreign and defence ministers, said the Hungarian government regards the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency as “good news”.
The minister underlined that intentionally he had not taken part in Sunday’s informal meeting of EU foreign ministers for political reasons. He said the view of the American people must be respected, even if their decision does not happen to coincide with the European political and media elite.
“Strange is the liberal-democratic view that as long as people decide in a way the elite favours, the state of democracy is in good working order; when, however, the decision rides against the wishes of the elite then they convene a crisis meeting…” Szijjártó said.
The election of Trump was “expressly good news for the world” since the views of the president-elect on the “export of democracy” were “favourable for the world”. The export of democracy “without limits” in the past had caused “a lot of trouble”, Szijjártó said. Various parts of the world had different histories, cultures and traditions, and these should be taken into consideration.
Orbán told public radio that Trump’s win is expected to bring a “complete change” in bilateral relations. He said Hungary has had strong economic and security ties with the US, but political co-operation “tended to run aground” with the Democrat administration.
He insisted that the Democrat government lived in a “Liberal pseudo-world” and sought to “export democracy in its own interpretation”, and supported migration tendencies in the world.
Asked if he expected a change in the US government’s critical attitude towards Hungary, Orbán said he expected a “180-degree” turnaround. “There is a fair chance” that the world would be a better place with the new US president.
Concerning Trump’s future policies, Orbán said “campaign and government are two different things”, and Hungary is interested in a “reasonable, calm and well-considered” US foreign policy.
Answering a question about Trump’s campaign remarks that he would not support his country’s free trade talks under the current conditions, Orbán said “neither do we”.
Also, in light of Trump making it clear that “the US will no longer foot the same bill”, Orbán said Europe will have to do more for its own security. “It will do us good if we take security more seriously, and do not take it for granted by a huge US army from outside the continent.”
Concerning US-Russia ties, he said there were ways to ease the tension and it was in Hungary’s interest that the two powers should “return from a warlike mood to the culture of peace and co-operation”. However, “it won’t happen overnight”.