‘Black sheep’ no more: Hungary PM says relations with US to improve under Trump

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban © Ints Kalnins
The position of Budapest on Washington's foreign policy list has apparently "improved remarkably," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, following a phone conversation with US President-elect Donald Trump.

"Donald Trump has made it clear that he regards Hungary highly," Orban told his country’s leading business daily, Vilaggazdasag, on Friday, as quoted by Reuters. 

"I spoke on the phone with the new US president and I can say that our position has improved remarkably," the Hungarian PM said.

Having expressed certainty that the two nations' diplomatic ties could improve with the incoming US leader, Orban said he had been invited to Washington for talks, although no date was specified.

"I told him [Trump] that I have not been there [to Washington] for a long time as I was regarded as a ‘black sheep,’" he told the daily, adding that his remarks apparently made Trump laugh, as he replied that "so was he."

The Hungarian billionaire investor-turned-politician, who has been in power since 2010, was among the first in Europe to announce his clear preference for the Republican candidate during the race for the White House. He also said that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would be "deadly" for Hungary. 

During her time as US secretary of state, Clinton expressed concerns over democratic freedoms in Hungary under Orban. Later, several Hungarian officials were banned from entering the US over corruption allegations. 

Shortly after Trump's win, Orban said the election result marked the end of a two-decade period of "liberal non-democracy" in the West. Calling the US vote "a historic event," Orban said that "Western civilization appeared to successfully break free from the confines of an ideology."

Orban also said Trump was "not ideologically limited" but rather "much more interested in results... than political theories," and the PM expressed hopes for better relations between the two countries – which are NATO allies – adding that "it was only ideologies that posed obstacles" for cooperation.