Hungary sees transatlantic relations as a priority and welcomes improvement of those ties, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told a conference on the US and central Europe in Washington, DC.
Regarding US-central Europe relations, Szijjártó said “a couple of years back we understood our region was not really on the radar screen of US foreign policy… We are happy that central Europe is [now] considered a strategic location.” Regarding the region’s energy security, Szijjártó said current infrastructural realities dictate that Hungary can only buy gas from Russia. It is up to the US and European allies to make it possible for Hungary to import gas from a Romanian offshore field as Hungary has met all infrastructural requirements for such transports, he said. To a question on the rule of law in Hungary, the minister said the Hungarian government would not have been re-elected three times had it infringed on democratic norms. Regarding the recent European parliamentary elections, Szijjártó said the central European region had played a significant role in the election of Ursula von der Leyen as head of the European Commission. The region’s growing economic strength and its internal cooperation have made central Europe a decision making factor in the EU, he said.
Philip T. Reeker, US acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs, said that the US and central Europe are connected by a set of shared basic values. Recent administrations have neglected those relations but now, the US returns to the region, he said. The two-day conference was organised by US think tank Atlantic Council and Globsec, a Bratislava-based research institute on sustainable development and defence.