News | Press Releases 2005

Dr. Otto Von Habsburg Completes First Leg of U.S. Tour

European Statesman Promotes European Union Expansion in Washington, D.C

Washington, DC – Dr. Otto von Habsburg, one of the initial architects of the European Union, completed a six-day program in Washington, D.C., the first stop on his three-week visit to the United States.

While in Washington, Dr. Habsburg met with U.S. government officials, gave lectures at prominent Washington think tanks, and gave numerous press interviews to highlight the possibilities and prospects of the new EU countries in their relationship with the United States. Dr. Habsburg’s visit to Washington, DC was the first stop on his US tour, which next takes him to Cleveland and New York City. He is accompanied by his wife Archduchess Regina von Habsburg, son Ambassador Georg von Habsburg, and daughter Archduchess Gabriela von Habsburg.

On April 12, Habsburg addressed over 80 opinion leaders, students and members of the general public at the Center for Transatlantic Relations of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. In his address, “The New Europe,”Habsburg warned that relations with Russia and Turkey represent important challenges for the European Union.

Dr. Habsburg gave a lecture on “The Transatlantic Imperative: Peace, Democracy and Prosperity for Mankind” at the Heritage Foundation, a U.S. public policy and research institute.“The Atlantic Ocean today is no longer what it was,” said Habsburg on Thursday. “Its military importance now is not much more than that of a river – consequently, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have to re-think our mutual relations on security because the technological possibilities are going to change the whole geography of the world.”

On Wednesday, Dr. Habsburg joined U.S. leaders of Central and East European groups for a discussion on EU expansion, hosted by the Hungarian Reformed Federation (HRFA) at its Kossuth House headquarters. George Dozsa, Chairman of the Board of HRFA, welcomed Dr. Habsburg and presented him with a replica of a photograph taken at Dr. Habsburg’s last visit to HRFA’s offices, 65 years ago. Dr. Habsburg told those assembled that America’s 11 million citizens of Central and East European descent constitute a de-facto bridge between the United States and Europe and play a prominent role in strengthening the prospects for peace and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.

In a moving ceremony, Dr. Habsburg laid a wreath at the busts of Lajos Kossuth and Raoul Wallenberg in the U.S. Capitol. The ceremony was hosted by U.S. Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA).

Wednesday evening, over 150 guests attended a gala dinner in honor of the Habsburgs at Washington’s famed Cosmos Club. Co-chairs Aniko Gaal Schott and Philip W. Pillsbury, Jr. welcomed guests and prominent members of the Washington society to the event. Susan Hutchison, Executive Director of the Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, brought greetings from Dr. Charles Simonyi, chairman of the event and principal sponsor of Dr. Habsburg’s tour. During a toast to Dr. Habsburg, Congressman Lantos remarked, “Otto von Habsburg has a Churchillian vision and statesmanship unprecedented in our time. [He is] a man who had fought the twin evils of Nazism and communism with the courage of his convictions and brilliance of his intellect.”

Additionally, Dr. Habsburg met with former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and participated in a number of press events during his visit to Washington, including interviews with the Washington Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio, Duna Television, Népszabadság, Hungarian Radio, and the weekly HVG.

“It was a great privilege and honor to host such a historic figure,” said Maximilian Teleki, President of the Hungarian American Coalition. “Dr. Habsburg demonstrates the importance of placing patriotism above partisanship and a contagious optimism we can all learn from.”

Dr. Habsburg’s U.S. tour is organized by the Hungarian American Coalition (HAC) and the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF). HAC and HHRF are not-for-profit organizations which work to promote U.S.-Hungarian relations and advocate the further expansion of the European Union to include additional countries, especially Hungary’s neighbors.

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