Hungary

  • 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.”


    Read More
  • 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.


    Read More
  • 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.”


    Read More
  • 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.”


    Read More
  • 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.


    Read More
  • 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.


    Read More
  • Damon Wilson: US Must 'Keep Our Allies as Our Allies'

    Twenty Seventh Annual Mikulás Dinner

    Remarks by Damon M. Wilson
    Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council

    Embassy of Hungary, Washington
    November 30, 2018

    Read More
  • Ukraine’s Golden Opportunity to Integrate with Europe That Everyone Has Overlooked

    Ukraine’s European aspirations are irreversible. A majority of the public supports NATO membership, and EU membership has long enjoyed popular support. However, wishing for integration does not make it happen. In both instances, Ukraine’s passage toward eligibility will be long and arduous. Nevertheless, opportunities are currently opening up for Ukraine to integrate with its European neighbors at the sub-regional level, in which selected countries from a larger region band together for a common purpose and share mutually beneficial investments. These opportunities are important and should not be overlooked.

    One such example of sub-regional cooperation among neighbors recently took place.

    Read More
  • Burwell Quoted in Newsweek on Hungary's Voting Rights in European Parliament


    Read More
  • In Defense of Orbán

    An emotionally charged debate has resurfaced about the nature of Hungarian democracy in the wake of the ruling Fidesz party’s victory in parliamentary elections in April. While it is legitimate to have a well-reasoned and honest dialogue about Hungary’s current political landscape, a proper understanding of real-life events can only occur by sticking to the facts and avoiding sweeping statements informed by political bias.

    Fundamental rights and freedoms were respected overall throughout the voting period; moreover, Hungary’s current legal framework for voting procedures also provides an adequate basis for democratic elections.

    Read More