On Hungary's International Relations

In the view of the Hungarian Europe Society, in the 21st century’s changed world, it is essential for the Republic of Hungary to establish a foreign policy strategy reflecting the country’s international political ambitions. 

We support the adoption of a “foreign affairs doctrine” for Hungary, as a member state of the European Union and NATO, in which the country takes an active role in the discussion about common European issues, while at the same time it stands for a value based alliance with the United States. As opposed to a one-sided emphasis on the defence of national self-interest, we support the concept of extending the political dimension of a united Europe, with among other objectives, increasing the role of the European Union in world politics. We prefer an all-European approach that strengthens the effectiveness of the EU’s institutional decision making processes and simultaneously its internal democracy. At the same time this concept regards the development of the European public sphere and the reinforcement of European citizens’ - including Hungarian citizens’ - European identity as both short and long term objectives.

The new strategy must reflect the extraordinary changes that have occurred since the regime-changes in the Central European region. Hungary should realize its own opportunities - unknown in the past - that the country now enjoys as a member of Euro-Atlantic institutions after having broken out from the interest spheres of “big powers”. Today, pursuing dynamic and rational political activities, Hungary can become one of the policy-shapers of global events! 

We believe that governments of the Republic of Hungary cannot follow as a tradition, either an overzealous or a valueless strategy of “Realpolitik” when conducting the country’s international relations, including its direct neighbourhood policy. The starting point in our relations to different regions in the world must be the protection of human rights. Hungary must support the democratisation process of partial or total dictatorships and their integration on a mutually beneficial basis into the world economy independently from their size or influence.

During the debates on Hungary’s international relations, and despite the current domestic political situation, it is suggested to create broad domestic consensus, including the significant political parties, interested civil organizations and citizens. Nevertheless, it can be expected that a strategy with definite positions will be challenged by political forces and social groups with divergent ideologies. According to our view, in a pluralistic democracy, this is not a tragedy: in various countries there are frequently open disputes among believers and representatives of different political approaches on international issues. We clearly object to a new strategy marking the global place of Hungary as one based on careful “saying nothing” tactics.

Budapest, October 2007.

The present declaration does not necessarily reflect the opinions of all HES members.