A four-party delegation of parliament’s foreign affairs committee met with David B. Cornstein, the new United States ambassador to Hungary, for a working lunch in Budapest on Monday.
Zsolt Németh, the head of the committee delegated by ruling Fidesz, said after the meeting that the United States’ filling the post of ambassador, vacant for 18 months, will “elevate diplomatic ties” between the two countries. He added that a change was “tangible” after a period in which the US embassy in Budapest was headed by a charge d’affaires.
Németh voiced support for the US position that NATO cannot be successful unless its members appropriately contribute to its operations. He added that Hungary has started a programme to raise its defence spending to an annual 2 percent of GDP.
Németh spoke highly of bilateral economic ties and noted that US companies in Hungary employed a total 100,000 people.
He referred to the US as Hungary’s largest trading partner outside Europe, and quoted the ambassador as saying that economic cooperation offered a lot of further opportunities. He noted Cornstein’s personal commitment to help utilise that potential.
Parties at the talks agreed that Hungary’s “unilateral dependence” on Russian energy supplies was “not healthy” and agreed on the need of diversifying energy sources, Németh said, adding that an economic role taken by the US could greatly contribute to strengthening energy cooperation in central Europe.
The talks were also attended by deputy chair of the committee Mihály Balla (Fidesz), Attila Mesterházy (Socialists), Márton Gyöngyösi (Jobbik), and Hajnalka Juhász (Christian Democrats).
Cornstein presented his credentials to President János Áder on June 25.
Featured image: MTI