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The US has tightened the rules for Hungarians in visa-free travel

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The United States has introduced a restriction on visa-free travel for Hungary. They want to have more control over who benefits from the privileges available to Hungarians. American diplomacy explains that the decision on visas has nothing to do with the increasingly strained relations between Washington and Budapest.

Traveling to America will now be more complicated for Hungarian citizens. They will still not have to apply for visas, but they will have to obtain permission to enter each time and each such consent will be valid for one year only.

The American authorities explain the tightening of the regulations for security reasons. The US ambassador to Budapest said that “Hungary’s government issued hundreds of thousands of passports under a simplified naturalization program without stringent identity verification mechanisms.”

– The travels tracked by the American services and the entry (to the United States – editorial note) of unauthorized persons, persons convicted of criminal activity in recent years, and using Hungarian passports, was a direct reason for blocking this general accessibility, which is now used by Poles – explains Wojciech Przybylski from the editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight, Res Publica Foundation.

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Although the government of Viktor Orban has made its mark of opposition to immigration as its hallmark, it has for years pursued an exceptionally liberal policy of granting citizenship. Reuters notes that Budapest has distributed a million passports in the last decade, mostly to ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries. They, in gratitude, voted for Orban.

In addition, a few years ago, Hungary actively handed out the so-called golden visas and golden passports, also to Russian politicians and businessmen – including, among others, the son of the head of Russian intelligence. The principle was simple – you pay, you get the right documents, and after a few years even citizenship. This is a fragment of an online guide: “You invest approximately EUR 180,000 in real estate, you set up a company on the spot. Thanks to this, you get a visa that allows you to travel without any problems throughout the European Union” – it was advised.

Orban: Ukraine is not a sovereign country, Putin is not a war criminalMichał Tracz/Fakty TVN

The case of NATO enlargement to Sweden

American diplomacy explains that the decision on visas has nothing to do with the increasingly strained relations between Washington and Budapest. Viktor Orban is considered to be Putin’s Trojan horse in the structures of the West. “Our allies no longer share intelligence with us because they rightly fear that it will be immediately disclosed to the Russians, knowingly or unknowingly,” says Antal Csardi, an MP from the opposition LMP party.

On Monday, at the request of the opposition, an extraordinary session of the Hungarian parliament was to be held to approve Sweden’s application to join NATO, but MPs from Orban’s party did not come to the meeting room.

– The Hungarian government is delaying this decision, lying to partners in the Visegrad Group, towards whom it made a commitment last year, to ratify this decision in the parliament in early 2023 – indicates Przybylski.

Sweden in NATO.  What does this mean for the Alliance?

Sweden in NATO. What does this mean for the Alliance?Jacek Tacik/Fakty TVN

Sweden’s entry into NATO is still being blocked not only by Budapest, but also by Ankara. It is true that in July Turkish President Recep Erdogan gave the green light for the ratification of the Swedish application, but today it is known that this will not happen before October.

On Friday, the heads of diplomacy of Hungary and Turkey met in Budapest. At the press conference on the enlargement of the Alliance, they limited themselves to empty phrases. – In the matter of Sweden’s membership in NATO, we act in close agreement with Hungary. We have open channels of communication through which we can exchange views on this issue,” said Hakan Fidan, Turkish Foreign Minister.

Hungary is paying for its anti-Western and pro-Putin stance not only with the loss of its good name. In June, the U.S. Senate suspended over $700 million worth of arms sales to the Hungarian military for blocking NATO expansion.

Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Reuters

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