Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia and China of trying to “undermine democratic will” in several countries in Central and Southern Europe, in a trend that, he warned, is becoming increasingly serious.
“Europe is undoubtedly at the center of a geopolitical competition where Moscow and Beijing are actively working against integration, against the wishes of those people who want to associate freely,” Blinken said in a telematic press conference with eight media from several countries, including Hungary’s Telex.hu.
The Secretary of State added that China and Russia “are trying to undermine the democratic and sovereign will of several countries in Central and Southern Europe”, which “means an increasingly serious problem.”
The press conference was attended by journalists from eight countries where there are threats to press freedom, such as Hungary, Turkey, Venezuela, China, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.
Blinken stressed that both the United States and the European Union (EU) consider it important to strengthen democratic standards and the rule of law.
“This must include freedom of speech and press,” he stressed, and found it “ironic” that Hungary, a country where freedom of speech and press was limited during the communist dictatorship under Soviet Union domination, now faces “growing concern” about that issue.
“This is the opposite of what Hungarians deserve after living for decades under the domination of a country that limited freedom of speech and press,” Blinken emphasized.
The U.S. Secretary of State assured that his government “seeks to strengthen its relations” with Hungary, as a NATO ally, and supports democratic institutions, as well as the strengthening of human rights and the rule of law in the Central European country.
The Orbán government has had several frictions with the EU in recent years, among others, because of the Hungarian government’s policy of “opening towards the East,” that is, China and Russia, as well as its authoritarian drift.