April 13. 2024. 5:21

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US Ambassador calls out Hungary’s democratic deficit

Hungary’s ‘lack of democratic values’ justifies US President Joe Biden’s decision not to invite Hungary to the Summit for Democracy, the US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman said at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.

First conceived by Biden as a way to restore US credibility following former President Donald Trump’s presidency marked by the Capitol attack, the second edition that kicked off Tuesday focused on the war in Ukraine.

Biden invited all EU countries but Hungary – a turn of events Hungary’s Foreign Ministry claimed was due to a political disagreement with the US.

The Hungarian government “does not agree with Biden’s policies on the war in Ukraine, migration or gender” but supports the policies of Trump, a source from the ministry told the press.

Commenting on the situation, Pressman argued that the missing invitation is not a matter of friendship with former or sitting presidents but a matter of Hungary’s democratic deficit.

Pressman pointed to the Hungarian government recently extending the state of emergency, during which the government can pass laws by decree and bypass parliament.

As it was first enacted in 2016 due to the “mass immigration crisis”, the government introduced a new state of emergency, citing the pandemic, that lasted until June 2022 and greatly expanded the scope for governing by decree. Emergency powers were again attributed to the government in response to the war in Ukraine in February last year.

Orban’s government used emergency powers to pass 18.5% of all legislation in 2022, including laws unrelated to the war, such as those facilitating the firing of teachers or the concealment of the government’s past activities.

Since the government has a two-thirds majority in parliament, it would have no difficulty passing laws under normal procedure.

(Max Griera with Telex)