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Dispute over US Ambassador’s comments

September 8th, 2018

A Hungarian-American liberal commentator lambasts the new US Ambassador to Budapest for ignoring what he sees as the decline of democratic norms in Hungary. His pro-government counterpart welcomes Mr Cornstein’s words.

In an interview with Szombat last week, David B. Cornstein, the US Ambassador to Budapest said that in the two months he had spent in the country he had not yet talked to a single Hungarian discontented with the state of democracy in Hungary. In the same interview, he underscored that it is important for the US to keep the Central European University in Budapest, noting that the university had met all the requirements set by the government.

In Népszava, Charels Gati thinks that Ambassador Cornstein has made himself look ridiculous by claiming that he had not seen any problems with democratic norms in Hungary other than what he calls the government’s attack on CEU. The left-wing pundit wonders what Mr Cornstein must have understood from the words of the NGO officials he met in his office. He accuses Mr Cornstein of conducting a policy of appeasement, and suspects that the Ambassador must be behaving in this way in the hope that he will be received by the Prime Minister.

Magyar Idők’s György Pilhál welcomes Mr Cornstein’s remarks on the state of democracy in Hungary. The pro-government commentator finds it absurd that left-wing intellectuals try to tell the US Ambassador what to see in Hungary and how to judge Hungarian democracy. Pilhál reads the left-wing uproar over Mr Cornstein’s comments as proof that left-wing liberal elites want to retain their privileged position to judge and influence Hungarian politics according to their own taste.

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