Boring Country?

Article excerpt

Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES


Hungary produced glamorous actresses like Zsa Zsa Gabor, famous composers like Bela Bartok and legendary actors like Bela Lugosi, star of the iconic film Dracula.

Hungarians rose up in an ill-fated popular revolt against communism in 1956 and then embraced a somewhat deranged democracy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Hungary was even declared the sick man of Europe in 2007 with high unemployment, inflation and government debt.

Hungary's new center-right government hopes to calm the hysteria.

We would like to become a very boring country, Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told reporters last week at breakfast at the residence of Hungarian Ambassador Bela Szombati.

Mr. Martonyi meant that his government desires stability and economic progress.

The Fidesz party government, which took power in April, is already on the path toward restoring economic stability, with a 16 percent flat tax on personal income, lower corporate taxes, government budget cuts and a temporary tax on bank profits.

Mr. Martonyi said his meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton went very well.

I tell you, I feel safe, reassured by U.S. policy toward Central Europe, he added.

Mr. Martonyi also met with Reps. Shelley Berkley, Nevada Democrat, and Jim Costa, California Democrat, who chair the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the senior Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee; Alcee L. Hastings, Florida Democrat and co-chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; and Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, and Steven C. LaTourette, Ohio Republican, who serve as co-chairmen of the Hungary Caucus.

Maximilian N. Teleki, president of the Hungarian American Coalition, praised Mr. Martonyi at a ceremony for the dedication of a plaque at the Washington home of the late Swiss diplomat, Carl Lutz, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews in World War II. …