U.S. ambassadorial nominee vows to promote democratic values in Hungary
At a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, David B. Cornstein, President Donald Trumpʼs nomination for ambassador to Hungary, said he will focus on promoting American values and advancing U.S. economic interests in Hungary.
The U.S. Embassy in Budapest
"First and foremost, I will encourage Hungarian officials at all levels of government to promote American and democratic values: the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, the freedom of religion are values that should not and cannot be compromised," Cornstein told the committee, as reported by Hungarian news agency MTI.
Cornstein said that he hoped to "advance our economic interests in Hungary," adding that "there certainly is room for existing American companies doing business in Hungary to do more."
Cornstein remarked that the Hungarian economy is "doing well" under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, noting high GDP growth, low unemployment, the recently reduced corporate tax rate and high levels of FDI.
The ambassadorial nominee added that he sees it as an "extremely important goal" to halt the rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary and the region.
"I am a very proud American Jew and it hurts and disturbs me deeply that this cancer continues to grow," he said.
A native New Yorker whose grandmother was Hungarian, Cornstein is chairman of Pinnacle Advisors Ltd., and was previously CEO, president, and ultimately chairman emeritus of Finlay Enterprise, a billion-dollar NASDAQ Stock Exchange Company.
Cornstein served as chairman of the one-time New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation and as vice chair of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. He earned his BA from Lafayette College and MBA from New York University.
The post of U.S. ambassador to Hungary has been vacant since the departure of Colleen Bell with the inauguration of Trump on January 20, 2017.
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