‘Threats to democracy in Hungary are real’, says nominee for ambassador to Hungary

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David Pressman expresses concerns over Russian and Chinese influence in Hungary

"Threats to democracy in Hungary are real, and merit our determined attention,” David Pressman, nominee for ambassador to Hungary told Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In his testimony, Pressman expressed concerns over press freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. “Human rights, media freedom, and the rule of law are not nice-to-haves in Hungary – or anywhere else. They are fundamental foundations for sustaining democracy and liberty and meeting people’s most basic needs. Today in Hungary, we see deeply troubling trends in each of these areas. If confirmed, I will support efforts to advance and protect these fundamental rights and transatlantic values,” he said. Pressman stated that the obvious influence of Russia and China in the Center European country and on its government is ‘cause for serious concern’.”Not just for the United States’ interests, or Europe’s, but the people of Hungary,” he added.

Under the Obama administration, Pressman, an international human rights lawyer, served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs. 

Hungary says no more sanctions on Russia needed

"Europe is suffering. It is suffering from wartime inflation, and it is suffering from the wartime economic crisis. (…) At this time, we need peace, not further sanctions, because peace is the only remedy for wartime inflation,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban posted on his social media account on Thursday.

In an interview with Reuters, the PM’s Political Director, Balazs Orbán echoed these thoughts saying instead of adding sanctions, the EU should push for a ceasefire and start negotiating with Russia. "At the end of the day, Europe will be on the losing side of this war because of the economic problems. Our recommendation would be that we should stop the sanction process."

Reuters highlighted that Hungary is one of the most pro-Russian EU countries, heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil. 

Fidesz and KDNP would dismantle the European Parliament

The ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition in Hungary would dismantle the directly elected European Parliament and recommends that national parliaments send delegate representatives instead, according to a draft resolution submitted to the Hungarian parliament, Telex reports. The resolution was submitted by four MPs, House Speaker László Kövér, Deputy PM Zsolt Semjén, KDNP group leader István Simicskó and Máté Kocsis, group leader of Fidesz.

The proposal lays out a vision for the future of the EU, including condemning sanctions against Russia and giving national parliaments veto power in EU legislation.

Opposition MEP Klára Dobrev (DK- Democratic Coalition) says that the proposal is an 'obvious sign of Orban preparing for Huxit', Hungary’s exit from the European Union.

Fidesz MP reacts to controversy over renaming Hungarian counties to their archaic names

“It would strengthen the national identity and the sense of belonging,” said Fidesz MP, Laszlo Posan on Tuesday, referring to an amendment to the constitution that was introduced last week. The new amendment would rename counties in Hungary to their archaic names. The term ‘vármegye’ (translates as “castle county”) was used before Hungary was shorn of at least two-thirds of its former territory as a result of World War I and the Treaty of Trianon.' According to Posan, the government’s intention is not to ‘evoke the past’.

The proposed amendment to the Fundamental Law was introduced “because of historical traditions and the achievements of our historical constitution”. Hungary’s finance minister, Mihály Varga, submitted a bill last week that would give government commissioners the quite archaic title of “ispan”, a reference to officials who represented the king.

The opposition criticized the move as a step: “back to the Middle Ages”. The idea of renaming counties comes after a controversial radio interview with Viktor Orban, where he said "our seas were taken away from us", referring to the Treaty of Trianon.