Hungary

  • Central Europe Ready to Lead on Strengthening the Transatlantic Bond

    As Europe and the United States face off over trade, defense spending, and other high-profile disagreements, the foreign ministers of Central Europe signaled that they are ready to take the lead in repairing the vital transatlantic relationship.

    Speaking at the Atlantic Council’s conference “The United States and Central Europe: Celebrating Europe Whole and Free” on July 17, ministers from the Visegrád countries—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia—celebrated the deep relationship their countries have with the United States and stressed the importance of a strong transatlantic bond.


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  • The United States is Back in Central Europe, State Department Official Says

    After years of disinterest and occasional disagreements, the United States has re-engaged with its allies in Central Europe at a time when their help is critical in confronting a revisionist Russia and a resurgent China, Ambassador Philip T. Reeker, the US acting assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said on July 17.


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  • The United States and Central Europe: What’s Gone Right, What’s Gone Wrong, and What’s Next

    The anniversaries we mark this year represent great achievement, mixed with tragedy. 100 years of US relations with the newly-independent nations of Central Europe; eighty years from the start of the Second World War, in part the terrible consequence of US strategic withdrawal from Europe; thirty years since Central Europeans overthrew communism, which led to the end of “Yalta Europe”; twenty years since NATO’s first enlargement beyond the Iron Curtain, in which the United States played a leading role; and fifteen years since the European Union’s enlargement beyond that same line, led by Europeans and supported by the United States. 


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  • The Importance of Hungary’s European Election

    In polls conducted in 2014 and 2018, 60 percent and 80 percent of Hungarians, respectively, said they consider themselves to be citizens of the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, Hungary had less than 30 percent voter turnout in the European parliamentary elections in 2014. In 2019, a year after Hungary’s center-right Fidesz party decisively won the national elections for the third consecutive time, there are two reasons why Hungarians should be more involved in the European elections on May 26: this election will determine the place of Hungary’s parties in the European political spectrum and the outcome will have consequences for Hungary’s municipal elections in the fall.

    The Fidesz-Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) coalition currently enjoys the highest support (49 percent to 55 percent) and is projected to win thirteen to fifteen of Hungary’s twenty-one seats in the European Parliament. As for the opposition parties, internal disagreements and a lack of cohesion could depress turnout among their voters.


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  • Twenty Years Later, NATO Allies Remain Strong Members of the Family

    When the foreign ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary finally signed documents completing their nations’ accession to NATO it marked the beginning of a new era for the transatlantic alliance. Twenty years ago, the ceremony held in Independence, Missouri—the hometown of US President Harry S. Truman, who oversaw the creation of NATO—marked the first time former-Communist adversaries had joined the alliance of democracies.

    Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, was a junior desk officer at the US Department of State when then US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright travelled to Missouri to finalize the new enlargement. “For me, less than a year on the job, I was on a professional high,” Wilson recalled. “After watching Washington for years exude ambivalence about whether to welcome more allies into NATO, the compelling case presented by these nations’ extraordinary spokespeople won the day. The determination of Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles, and the subsequent bipartisan leadership of Robert Dole and Bill Clinton, ensured that President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘Europe whole and free’ would not remain just rhetoric.”


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  • Engaging Hungary Is Good for US Interests and Values

    A casual consumer of news reading sensational headlines about Hungary would question whether the United States and Hungary are even allies. US officials are criticized for a policy of “appeasement” when they meet their Hungarian counterparts. It is therefore significant that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Hungary this week as part of a concerted plan to engage Central Europe.


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  • Pompeo’s Trip to Central Europe Aims to Bring NATO Allies in From the Cold

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to Central Europe is “the right call” by the Trump administration, according to Daniel Fried, a distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    After the enlargement of NATO and the European Union to encompass these countries by 2004, “a lot of Americans thought our work in the region was done, and yet it was not so,” Fried explained. With US attention shifting to other regions of the world, the once very close partnerships between the United States and these countries “became eerily normal,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council. “Central Europe began to be taken for granted as Washington’s attention understandably shifted elsewhere.”


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  • Revisiting the Narrative About Hungary’s Relationship with Russia

    Editor’s Note: This article is a response to Stephen Blank’s essay, Putin’s Energy Strategy Is More Ambitious than You Think, which was published by the Atlantic Council’sUkraineAlert blog on January 4, 2019. 

    Since arriving in Washington in the summer of 2017, I have grown somewhat baffled by the narrative about Hungary, especially within the Beltway. As Hungary’s ambassador to the United States, I receive a fair share of advice from all corners about how Hungary should conduct its foreign policy. One of the recurring themes is, to put it mildly, that Hungary is too friendly with Russia. When I inquire about why Hungary, a NATO and EU member, is perceived as a friend of Russia, I usually get puzzled looks, as if I were challenging  a paradigm. While I certainly see it as part of a wider narrative, I am curious as to what yardstick is being used to put Hungary in the “Russian basket.”


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  • Why the Hungarian Link in Russia’s Grand Strategy Is Overblown

    Editor’s Note: This article is a response to Stephen Blank’s essay, Putin’s Energy Strategy Is More Ambitious than You Think, which we published on January 4, 2019.  

    Energy policy is a crucial part of Russia’s strategy to maximize its influence in Europe and divide the European Union. As highlighted by critics of Russia’s assertive energy strategy in Europe, the two flagship Russian-sponsored pipeline projects, Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream, are much more than business: they are also geopolitical tools aimed at increasing Russia’s leverage over Central and Eastern Europe. However, an increasing number of articles in the West falsely portray NATO member Hungary as a satellite state within Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grand European strategy. These claims are misplaced.


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  • Putin’s Grand Energy Strategy Is More Ambitious than You Think

    Energy politics are critical in Russia’s long war on the West and Ukraine. Indeed, energy functions as a Swiss army knife for Moscow, cutting simultaneously in several directions. Energy provides the basis for the revenue stream that enables all government operations, comprises a ready source of constant corruption of European elites and institutions, and furnishes an unending source of leverage and corruption over European governments and politics.


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