Orban Trump
Photo: www.facebook.com/viktatorka & www.facebook.com/pg/POTUS

In fact, President Donald Trump invited the Hungarian Prime Minister. This is the first time they meet, and they will discuss questions on energy security, US-Hungarian defence cooperation and bilateral relations, and on security in the Central-European region. 

Rocky road

Átlátszó reported today first that based on what their American sources told, Donald Trump was going to invite the Hungarian PM in May to Washington. During the American presidential election campaign, Viktor Orbán was the first PM who openly declared his support towards Trump. Therefore, after the inauguration of President Trump, the question was quickly raised when Washington is going to invite the Hungarian PM.

The Hungarian diplomacy told nothing about the background negotiations – when mfor.hu asked FM Péter Szijjártó about Orbán’s possible invitation to the White House the minister answered that there are no such issues at the moment that require a meeting between the two leaders. “Last time the secretary of the USA was here remained no open questions which we have not discussed” – he added.

According to atlatszo.hu, though Trump and Orbán agree on most of the ideological questions, American diplomacy’s attitude towards Hungary did not change until 2017. They criticised the attacks against democracy and fundamental rights and the modification of the democratic institutions.

Washington decided only at the end of 2017 that they

should be more forgiving in the case of Hungary

in order to avoid tossing the country into Vladimir Putin’s hands. This is what A. Wess Mitchell,  Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs between October 2017 and February 2019, could thank his nomination. In fact, after his resignation, Mitchell went back to work for the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Interestingly, Réka Szemerkényi, Orbán’s former ambassador to Washington, is the vice president of this think tank.

Some problems are still present

However, some bilateral issues remained, for example, according to atlatszo.hu, American diplomacy worried because the Hungarian government did not sign the defence cooperation agreement for 1.5 years. Finally, that happened only on 4 April in Washington. Furthermore, in the background, Washington criticised the Hungarian government a lot because Budapest did not support US efforts to

stop the economic and political expansion of China and Russia.

But there are some additional problematic points, too, like the issue of the CEU and the tensions between Hungary and Ukraine.

Another significant milestone in the bilateral relations was US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s visit in the region. Pompeo visited not only Hungary but also Poland and Slovakia, and regarding the reasons, he said that it was important for Washington to make it clear that the region is significant for America. He noted that Washington neglected Central-Europe in the last decade which created a vacuum the Kremlin and Beijing would like to fill. However, the USA would like to reverse this process.

Trump to come to Budapest?

Therefore, it is not surprising that before Orbán’s visit President Donald Trump welcomed Czech PM Andrej Babis on 7 March and is going to host Slovak PM Peter Pellegrini on 3 May.

Regarding a possible visit of Donald Trump in Budapest, US ambassador to Budapest David Cornstein said to InfoRádió at the end of March that before it happens

they would like to accomplish some projects

on which they have been working for long.

In fact, not shortly after atlatszo.hu’s article Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that President Donald Trump invited PM Viktor Orbán for 13 May to Washington for a working visit. The meeting will be about energy security, US-Hungarian defence cooperation, bilateral relations, and questions of security in the region.

Featured image: www.facebook.com/viktatorka, facebook.com/pg/POTUS

Source: atlatszo.hu, origo.hu

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