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Ambassador Bell: Hungary has the right to secure its borders

December 8th, 2015

Conservative columnists weigh the broader implications of US Ambassador Colleen Bell’s statement that Hungary has the right to secure its borders.

On Saturday, US Ambassador Colleen Bell told M1 public television that Hungary as a sovereign nation has the right to defend its borders. Ms Bell added that the US has no prescriptions concerning the handling of the migration crisis. She added that US-Hungarian diplomatic relations are excellent and praised Hungary for keeping gun violence low. 

Magyar Hírlap’s Gyula T. Máté interprets Ms Bell’s statements as a big slap in the face for the Hungarian Left and Liberals. The conservative columnist thinks that the US Ambassador has said nothing about border security that is new to the Hungarian public, but as her words suggest, Washington realises that the Hungarian Left has no chance to replace PM Orbán any time soon, and thus the US needs to maintain good relations with the Hungarian government. Another reason for the more conciliatory tone is that other countries in Europe are erecting fences and reintroducing border controls too, Máté suggests. Supporting strict security measures is in the interest of the US, he writes. If terrorist cells infiltrate Europe, the US will have a hard time too, Máté thinks.

In Magyar Idők, Levente Sitkei cautions against exaggerating the significance of Ms Bell’s remarks. The US is not the Soviet Union – Washington is our strategic ally and no compulsive compliance is expected on the side of Hungary, the pro-government commentator  remarks. Thus Hungarians should not pay too much attention either to US criticism, or praise, Sitkei concludes.

Left-wing dailies and blogs have so far not commented on Ms Bell’s statement.

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