Philip H. Gordon
U.S. Department of State
„Our ability to work together with Central Europe to promote democratic transitions abroad is rooted in our shared commitment to democratic values at home. Because our alliance is based on these shared values, we have not shied away from reminding our partners of their own obligation to promote and protect democratic principles.
In Hungary, we have engaged in vigorous discussions about troubling efforts to weaken institutional checks-and-balances within the government, the cumbersome and politicized registration process for recognizing religions, and the importance of preserving the integrity and independence of the judiciary and free press. We are encouraged that Hungary continues to consult on these issues with the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, a process that has already led to some positive changes. We also urge the Hungarian government to have a dialogue on these matters with civil society, as we believe that a strong democracy depends on a transparent and inclusive political process.
In Romania, we have expressed our concerns about threats to democratic institutions and the independence of the judiciary. We were particularly concerned about the conduct of the referendum on impeaching the President, as the government appeared to change the rules during the process and there were credible allegations of voter fraud and attempts to coerce the Constitutional Court. We were pleased to see the government uphold its commitment to respect the Court’s rulings. We are hopeful that Romania will emerge from this crisis with a renewed dedication to preserving the strength and independence of its democratic institutions.”