PAST EVENT: Third day of the visit of Hungarian President Pál Schmitt to Washington, DC

Publicated on: December 3, 2011

The President met with consuls and honorary consuls, delivered a lecture at SAIS, laid a wreath at the Victims of Communism Memorial and attended the Hungarian-American Coalition's annual dinner.

On the third day of the President's visit to Washington, in the morning he met with Consul Generals and Honorary Consuls of Hungary coming from every part of the United States. He thanked their work and commitment to strengthening the relations between Hungary and the US, to assist Hungarian nationals in need, and for promoting Hungarian culture and values.He emphasized that Honorary Consuls are extremely valuable interfaces of Hungary across the United States, they are small mirrors of Hungary and important interlocutors between the two countries.

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In the afternoon, President Schmitt gave a lecture titled "Why a Europe Whole and Free Still Matters" at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University on transatlantic relations, the euro-zone crisis and the perspective of EU–US relations. In his lecture, the Hungarian President shared the Hungarian Government’s deep commitment to the transatlantic alliance, which is now more than ever instrumental in addressing our shared security concerns: terrorism, extremism, organized crime, and cyber-security.

Regarding the economy he emphasized that Central and Eastern European member states, which were initially looked at with caution, brought lots of useful, new knowledge, freshness, openness and substantial economic potential to the EU. He mentioned that the new fundamental law of Hungary that will enter into effect on January 1, 2012, marks a new beginning in economic terms as it includes a strong constitutional provisions to reduce public debt. The President underlined that in 2011 during the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, we turned our attention to the revolutions in the Arab world. Hungary was one of the only European embassies to remain open in the Libyan capital where we also represented the United States and the EU. He stressed that we have to do our utmost to assist these countries, so that the Arab Spring could lead to Arab democracies. The President conculded that the Western value-based alliance has arrived at a critical turning point and we must emerge from this crisis with a renewed sense of self-confidence and trust in the strength of our values.

Click here to read the full text of his speech

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Later in the day, the President laid a wreath at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington D.C., together with the President of the VOCM Foundation Mr. Lee Edwards, Ambassador György Szapáry and Colonel Zoltán Bóné. Several members of the Hungarian American community were present – among them Edith Lauer member of the VOCMF board, Dean of the Hungarian Parliament János Horváth as well as Consul Generals and Honorary Consuls of Hungary in the United States.

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At the end of the day, President Schmitt attended the Hungarian American Coalition's year-end dinner, a tradition for 20 years now. The dinner was a great opportunity for the President to meet representatives of the Hungarian American community and friends of Hungary. Ambassador of the United States to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis as well as several former ambassadors participated at the dinner. At the dinner, Chairman Emerita of the Coalition, Edith Lauer was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit for her outstanding and tireless work in the Hungarian-American community.

Click here to read the laudation of Edith Lauer as read by Ambassador György Szapáry

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