Orbán talks FDI with British investors, EU with Cameron


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed cooperation between the Hungarian government and British investors with the managers responsible for Central Europe of the biggest British companies present in Hungary during his visit to London on Wednesday, Foreign Trade Secretary Péter Szijjártó told news service MTI.

The agenda included the possible future developments of the companies in Hungary. Companies represented at the meeting included Tesco, Vodafone and GlaxoSmithKline.

According to official statistics, the United Kingdom is the seventh-largest foreign investor in Hungary, and British companies employ several tens of thousands of Hungarians; this is why the government pays special attention to cooperation with British investors, Szijjártó explained.

Later, Orbán met with British PM David Cameron on what was apparently the latter’s birthday. Orbán appealed to the like-minded Cameron, a long-time trumpeter of European Union reform, by stating that “It should be clearer what regulates Brussels, and what [regulates] Budapest and London. The national powers should therefore be clearly separated from national powers.” 

Orbán also informed media that a “stronger alliance” was promised between the two countries, “most notably in the field of nuclear energy.” 

Naturally, the PM touted his government’s work in utility price cuts during the meet and stated that the ultimate goal was to make Hungarian energy prices as low as those in the United States, which he figured at about one-third as expensive.

Meanwhile, some Britain-based media outlets saw Cameron’s controversy-free hosting of Orban as indication of greater troubles about to be unleashed within that country.

In a piece self-explanatorily headlined “David Cameron fails to challenge Hungary on draconian press laws,” the Telegraph declared that the non-action “is the first evidence of warnings by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, that introducing statutory regulation in Britain will undermine Britain’s ability to promote free speech.”

The Telegraph notes that “Cameron and his government are now at loggerheads with the British newspapers over press regulation,” while the watchdog organization Index on Censorship characterized Cameron’s non-action as “a great shame.”

An Index spokesman told the paper that “[The Orbán government has] introduced some of the most terrifying press and media ownership laws since the Cold War. It is really at the front line of censorship in Europe at the moment. It seems a great shame that the [Cameron] would not even raise this.”

– Material from Gergő Rácz was used in this story

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