Thursday

27th Jun 2019

US diplomat lashes out at Hungary's Orban

  • Nuland earned a name for plain speech when she said 'fuck the EU' in a leaked conversation on Ukraine (Photo: mold.gov)

Victoria Nuland, the US' top diplomat on Europe, has indirectly criticised Hungarian leader Viktor Orban for the “cancer” of “democratic backsliding”.

Speaking at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a think tank in Washington, on Thursday (2 October), she said: “Central Europe is once again on the frontline in the fight to protect our security and values. And today, that fight is once again both external and internal”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

She did not name Orban, but she alluded to his open criticism of Western sanctions on Russia.

“Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are paying a steep price”, she said.

“But … when [European] leaders are tempted to make statements that tear at the fabric of our resolve, I would ask them to remember their own national history, and how they wished their neighbours had stood with them”.

She also referred to Orban’s statement, made at a meeting of ethnic Hungarian leaders in Romania in July, that: “I don’t think that our European Union membership precludes us from building an illiberal new state based on national foundations”.

“Even as they reap the benefits of Nato and EU membership, we find leaders in the region who seem to have forgotten the values on which these institutions are based”, Nuland said on Thursday.

With Orban also accused of restricting press freedom and cracking down on rights NGOs, she added: “So today I ask their leaders: How can you sleep under your Nato Article 5 blanket at night while pushing ‘illiberal democracy’ by day; whipping up nationalism; restricting free press; or demonising civil society?”

She spoke of the “twin cancers of democratic backsliding and corruption” in eastern Europe, which create “wormholes that undermine their nations’ security”.

She also hit out at EU states who are preparing to build South Stream - a Russian gas pipeline through the Western Balkans to Austria and Italy, involving Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia.

“I ask the same of those who … cut dirty deals that increase their countries’ dependence on one source of energy despite their stated policy of diversification”, Nuland said.

Her remarks come after US leader Barack Obama last month put Hungary in the same basket as Russia in terms of threats to civil society.

"From Russia to China to Venezuela, you are seeing relentless crackdowns, vilifying legitimate dissent as subversive. In places like Azerbaijan, laws make it incredibly difficult for NGOs even to operate. From Hungary to Egypt, endless regulations and overt intimidation increasingly target civil society", he said at an event in New York on 23 September.

Hungary raids Norway-backed NGOs

Hungary has been accused of moving away from EU democratic values following a raid on two NGOs earlier this week.

Culture MEPs rebel against Juncker

A handful of Liberal, Green, leftist and anti-establishment MEPs dealing with culture have called for a boycott against the Juncker commission because of his Hungarian nominee.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us