News / Europe

Ex-Communist Nations Nudge Obama Amid Feelings of Neglect

U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates after winning the U.S. presidential election in Chicago, Illinois, November 7, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates after winning the U.S. presidential election in Chicago, Illinois, November 7, 2012.
Stefan Bos
Ex-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe are closely watching how the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama will impact them amid uncertainty about their economic future. Hungary's deputy prime minister said there is concern that American foreign policy has shifted away from the former Soviet satellite states.

The Hungarian Airforce Band played American classics as Hungarians, U.S. citizens and others gathered in Budapest for what was dubbed Europe's largest election-night event.

Roughly 1,500 invited people crowded a ballroom and adjacent areas decorated with balloons, life-size pictures of the presidential candidates and a replica of the White House Oval Office in one of the Hungarian capital's most luxurious hotels.

Residents from Hungary, a still young democracy, watched with amazement as large television screens displayed the election results, which eventually showed a clear victory for President Barack Obama.

Though leaders of Hungary and other Central and Eastern European countries later congratulated Mr. Obama on his re-election, celebrations were overshadowed by concerns.

Russia's growing influence

Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics said he hopes the president will focus more on Hungary and other countries that were occupied for decades by Soviet Union forces, amid worries about the growing influence of Russia.

"I think the Central European nations now somehow vanished in the eyes of the American foreign policy," said Navracsics. "The American foreign policy think tanks and analysts think that Central Europe is in a safe and dry place and it is not in danger of a possible Russian influence.  We sometimes think differently."

High on his wish list are Washington-backed American investments as crisis-hit Hungary is forced to negotiate more than $19 billion in financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Navracsics said he believes a deal will be signed this year or early 2013, despite tensions between Hungary and the organizations that reportedly demand austerity measures and the end of controversial taxes on banks and mainly foreign companies.

Hungary is among several ex-communist European Union member states demanding closer ties with the United States.

US-EU fatigue

These sentiments are shared by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who on Wednesday met the wives of political prisoners from autocratically ruled Belarus.

"In the last two-to-three years, from time to time, we felt a certain kind of 'fatigue' in the relationship between the EU and the United States of America," he said.

"The re-election of Barack Obama on the basis of his program is an encouragement for all of us, for more cooperation on the basis [of] our common interests in the fight against worldwide speculation, [the] fight against the problems of climate change and in cooperation for peace, justice and development worldwide," Schulz said.

But Poland's foreign minister is not optimistic that will happen immediately. He told a Polish radio station that President Obama is expected to focus on the Middle East, following his election victory on Tuesday.

Minister Radek Sikorski said in a statement that "traditionally, second term presidents, especially from the Democratic Party, try to do more to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” He was quoted as saying Mr. Obama "has already promised to help establish a Palestinian state."

But the leaders of former Eastern-bloc nations hope President Obama will include their turbulent region, with its newfound freedom, in his busy four-year schedule.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid