Viktor Orbán Visits Donald Trump as NATO Celebrations Take Place in Hungary

Hungary’s strained relations with the United States have had a significant impact on its economy. In March, Hungary marked 25 years since joining the NATO defense alliance, but Prime Minister Viktor Orban was notably absent from the celebration at the Central European University in Budapest. Despite this, the American ambassador emphasized Orbán’s commitment to a democratic future as part of the West.

Around the time of the celebration, Orbán visited the United States as a guest of former President Donald Trump but did not meet with the Biden administration. The strained relationship between Hungary and the US, as well as other EU countries, has created uncertainty in Hungary’s economy. Professor Peter Mihályi from Corvin University of Budapest noted that the US’s displeasure with the Hungarian government is a significant factor affecting the economy. The strained diplomatic relations could also have implications in Brussels, even if not explicitly stated.

In recent years, Hungary has turned toward the East, with changing tones in speeches of Western investors like Germany and Austria. While Germany was once a loyal investor in Hungary with strong support from Chancellor Angela Merkel, sentiments have shifted. A survey among Germany’s industrial management showed a significant decline in trust in Hungary. Some foreign investors like an Austrian company affiliated with Spar have publicly expressed dissatisfaction with how foreign investors are treated in Hungary. This discontent has not just been limited to EU countries but has also been felt among Western investors like China and Russia who introduced new culture of secrecy in Hungary while introducing additional taxes particularly targeting foreign companies despite hostile attitude toward EU countries and USA has not extended to business sector yet .

Despite these challenges, Western companies are still investing in Hungary albeit with some adjustments. Transparency International highlighted that investment climate has not seen drastic changes and foreign companies are adapting to situation by introducing new strategies and policies but it is important for government to improve its diplomatic relations with western countries to ensure sustainable economic growth for long term future

By Sophia Gonzalez

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