Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Budapest, Hungary



ADMINISTRATOR POWER: I have spent the last day meeting with Hungarian young people, high school students – about 80 of them – a very dynamic group. I’ve met with independent media organizations, with civil society. 

RTL:  What’s the plan to [inaudible] with the Hungarian ministers? Can you tell us names with who you are going to meet?

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: I’m going to be meeting with the Justice Minister, the Defense Minister, the head of the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee, and I look forward to discussing the bilateral relationship, which is so important to the United States.

RTL: Recently the Hungarian government has been quite harsh about the American government. What do you expect about this [inaudible]?

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Well again, I can only speak from the United States’ perspective. This is a relationship that matters a great deal to us. It is a relationship that has been, I think, mutually extremely beneficial for both countries over the years. It’s one we cherish. We have a huge Hungarian community as well in the United States. We count on Hungary as a NATO Ally.  And we think that there’s even more potential in the relationship than that which we’ve enjoyed up to this point. It's no secret that the relationship is complex. 

RTL: USAID is starting a new program in Central Europe. What is the reason of this? And why now?

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Well all around the world as USAID, we recognize that economic development is absolutely central, but for economic development to be sustained it’s extremely important that good governance, the rule of law, and democratic institutions get strengthened at the same time. So, we are looking all over the world, not just in this region, at what more we can do.

RTL: USAID had a program here in Hungary about 13 years ago. Are we again at a starting point?

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: I think Hungary has developed tremendously. I should say that I was here as a college student back in the summer of 1990, so I really experienced what Hungary was like when it was emerging from the Cold War and when civil society was just a dream in people’s eyes, and independent media was just coming into existence – long before the age of social media. 

RTL: Aren’t you concerned that the Hungarian government will claim this programming is an intervention to the home affairs of the country?  

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: I think that there is an awful lot of misinformation out there about what the United States wants in Hungary. A ton of misinformation about the nature of the partnership between our two countries. I think the relationship has become way more politicized than is in the interest of the American people, and if I may say the Hungarian people.

RTL: So there is no concerns that the Hungarian government could see these kinds of actions as an interventions to the home affairs?

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: I think the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the universal aspirations that one sees in traveling the world, are ones rooted in the desire that all of us have to be able to speak freely, to pray freely, to gather freely.

RTL: How much money is for this program? Total in Europe and especially in Hungary?

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Well, right now we’re operating on the assumption that it's a $20 million initiative spread across seven countries. As the conversations progress and we hear from more community leaders about what the kinds of investments they want to make to strengthen their communities, again, to meet those aspirations of young people, then we’ll know more exactly about how the resources will be deployed.

Administrator Samantha Power Travels to Hungary
Share This Page