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Archive for Hungary

Newsline: Hungary pulls ambassador from Netherlands

Hungary has pulled its ambassador out of the Netherlands, in response to criticism by the outgoing Dutch ambassador in Hungary. Gajus Scheltema reportedly criticised Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s government in a magazine interview, comparing its rhetoric to that of Islamic terrorists, and sparking the row. According to the ANP, Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó announced on that ‘contacts at an ambassadorial level have been suspended indefinitely’, and said Scheltema had overstepped the boundaries of his role. Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders distanced himself from the ambassador’s reported comments.



Newsline: Hungary summons Canadian ambassador in diplomatic spat

Relations between Canada and NATO ally Hungary got a bit testy this week, after the Hungarian foreign ministry summoned Canada’s ambassador to the country to chastise her over public statements expressing concern about the fate of a Budapest university and academic freedom in the country. The Hungarian government has recently introduced a new law on higher education that some observers believe targets the Central European University (CEU), founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros in 1991 and led by former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff, who is the rector and president of CEU, has waged a fierce public relations battle opposing the new rules and has called on the European Union and the Washington to intervene on behalf of the university.


Newsline: Hungary summons top US diplomat over civil society remarks

Hungary’s foreign ministry has summoned the US charge d’affaires, Andre Goodfriend, to discuss comments made recently by US President Barack Obama about the situation of civil society in Hungary. Deputy state secretary at the ministry Levente Magyar told Goodfriend that the Hungarian government believed US statements regarding civil society in Hungary were “lacking factual basis”. US statements which offer a distorted image and portray a single legal procedure as if it were an intimidation of the civil sector will not help fact-based dialogue, which Hungary advocates, but gives way to being interpreted as political pressure, the statement said. Goodfriend told ATV that it was the US embassy in Budapest that supplied the US administration with information about the situation of civil society in Hungary. In an address given recently at a conference, US President Barack Obama mentioned Hungary among countries which restrict civil society.


Newsline: Estonia closing Budapest embassy

Estonia will close its embassy in Budapest, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet announced in Tallinn, saying this is the appropriate step. Hungary announced two weeks ago that it will close its embassies in Tallinn and Nicosia this year. The Estonian embassy will continue to function until September 30.


Newsline: Hungary dismayed as Romania bars new consulates

Romania has rejected Hungary’s application to open consular offices in Oradea (Hungarian name: Nagyvárad) and Targu Mures (Marosvásárhely). A spokeswoman for Hungary’s Foreign Ministry said the decision is “incomprehensible” because Romania has not given any substantive explanation and Hungary has never rejected a similar request by a foreign country. She said the decision went against European practices. Hungary has an embassy in Bucharest and consulates in Miercurea Ciuc (Csíkszereda) and Cluj (Kolozsvár).


Newsline: Hungary Reopens Embassy In Santiago De Chile

Foreign Minister János Martonyi paid an official visit to Chile between January 5 and 7 and reopened the Hungarian embassy in Santiago de Chile. Martonyi also held talks with Chilean counterpart Alfredo Moreno Charme and expressed thanks for keeping the Chilean embassy in Budapest open despite the closing of the Hungarian one in Chile in 2009, a statement by the ministry said. Martonyi told Moreno that Hungary was paying increased attention to the Latin American region as part of its global opening and plans to strengthen cooperation with countries of the region in the areas of the economy, science and education.


Newsline: US Soap Opera Producer Tapped for Top Diplomatic Post

President Barack Obama has nominated one of his top fundraisers in Hollywood to be the next U.S. ambassador to Hungary, the White House announced. Obama’s new choice for the job? Colleen Bell, a producer for Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc., the company behind the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Last year, Bell and her husband, Bradley Bell, hosted two campaign fundraising events at their home in Los Angeles that Obama personally attended. One was a reception with about 1,000 supporters that featured a musical performance by the Foo Fighters. The other was a more intimate dinner party with about 80 people attending where tickets cost $35,800 per person, according to the White House press pool report. All told, Bell helped raise at least $500,000 for Obama’s re-election efforts, according to a voluntary disclosure by the Obama campaign. Documents obtained by the New York Times put the total at more than $2 million. Bell ranks as the 23rd major campaign bundler to be nominated for an ambassadorship since January, according to research by the Center for Public Integrity. Collectively, these moneymen and women raised more than $16 million for Obama since he launched his first presidential campaign in 2007.