Deputy Speaker of Parliament Gergely Gulyás met members of the US House of Representatives and leaders of civil organisations on the first day of a three-day visit to Washington, DC on Wednesday.
Aiming to discuss US-Hungarian relations and the challenges facing the EU and NATO “in as wide a circle as possible”, Gulyas held talks with Republican Congressmen Chris Smith of New Jersey, Dennis Ross of Florida and Steve King of Iowa as well as Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. He also met the deputy head of the Heritage Foundation, the head of the Family Research Council and representatives of other organisations.
Speaking to MTI by phone late on Wednesday local time, Gulyás said that a bipartisan delegation of the House of Representatives is to visit Hungary in autumn.
US-Hungarian cooperation is optimal in economic and security policy as well as on military issues, but diplomatic ties are “lagging sorely behind”, Gulyás said. The approach of the past eight years’ Democratic administration, which “placed ideological questions before practical matters and intruded unduly into the inner politics of many countries”, still holds sway over Washington’s foreign policy, Gulyás said.
The US Embassy in Hungary is “unfortunately a hurdle in establishing correct communication between the countries”, Gulyás said citing the embassy’s criticism of the Hungarian law on the transparency of foreign-funded NGOs.
The law, passed earlier this month, requires NGOs receiving foreign donations above a certain threshold to register as organisations funded from abroad.
Gulyás said the US’ criticism of the law had come in spite of the Hungarian government’s acceptance of parts of the Venice Commission’s report and prior coordination with the US embassy itself. The Hungarian law is now actually closer to US legislation on the issue than it had been before, Gulyás insisted.
Migration is another issue where the Hungarian standpoint is very close to that of the current US president, Gulyás said.
Gulyás said his visit was marked by openness towards an agreement with Hungarian politics. “The negative media coverage notwithstanding, many realise that these articles do not tell the truth”, he said.