(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) -- Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation – and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman to discuss Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO and Hungary’s democratic backsliding under the government of Victor Orban. During the meeting, Durbin and Shaheen expressed their hope that Hungary would soon ratify the new NATO aspirants and their support for Pressman and noted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 omnibus appropriations bill that included $2 million for democracy and free media programs in Hungary.
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman to discuss the important U.S.-Hungary bilateral relationship. As a member of the EU and NATO, Hungary has made commitments to the U.S. and our allies on issues ranging from defense cooperation to democracy promotion,” said Shaheen. “I applaud Ambassador Pressman’s work to hold Hungary to these responsibilities, including by pushing back against Hungary’s autocratic human rights regime and democratic backsliding predicated by Prime Minister Orban, and look forward to continuing to engage with our Hungarian counterparts as they consider the NATO accession bids of Sweden and Finland. As the global community works to hold Russia accountable for Putin’s unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine, it’s clear that the transatlantic relationship has never been more united than today. We must be able to count on Hungary to meet its obligations to the U.S. and to our allies and partners.”
“As a NATO member on the front lines of the horrific Russian-led war in Ukraine, the Orban government has an increasingly stark choice of its own making – to stand with the alliance against Russian tyranny or cynically use its vote on Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO in ongoing disagreements with the EU on its own domestic democratic backsliding,” said Durbin. “I believe the Hungarian people know the clear answer when it comes to their security, ties to the transatlantic alliance, and the threat posed by Russia – the only question is whether Orban’s government will respect those sentiments.”
A photo of the meeting is available here.