Hungary confronts Obama administration over travel bans

Hungary confronts Obama administration over travel bans
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Hungary has demanded an explanation from the US over its banning of six top officials from entering the country on alleged corruption charges.

The discussion was part of a tense four hour meeting in Washington between Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and America’s assistant secretary of state.

“I told the Assistant Secretary that we are always open to consult about specific issues, about specific decisions. But there is one thing we never accept. We do not accept, if someone challenges or questions the general democratic approach and the general democratic values of our country,” said Szijjártó after the meeting with Victoria Nuland.

The US has implied the entry bans were a warning to Budapest to reverse policies that threatened to undermine democratic values in the country.

Our correspondent Stefan Grobe said:

“The Obama administration has been unhappy with Hungary’s governance for a long time. And now patience seems to be running out. The message is: Get your act together or face the consequences.”

The increasingly strained relations between the two countries appear to have peaked over a report issued by whistleblower András Horváth who worked at Hungary’s tax authority. He claims the government is turning a blind eye to corruption.

“The government has received many signs about corrupt tax authority leaders in the last few years, not only from me, but from many other colleagues. I also made a denunciation, but nothing has happened,” said Horváth

The report comes after several diplomatic clashes with the US. Analysts in Washington allege Hungary’s right-wing government is taking the country down an authoritarian path, producing a sense of corruption coupled with a biased judiciary – something Hungary rejects.