Hungary a champion of further EU enlargement strengthening regional stability

Hun­gary con­tin­ues to be com­mit­ted to the enlarge­ment of the Euro­pean Union – pri­mar­i­ly inte­grat­ing the coun­tries of the so-called West­ern Balka­ns. Accord­ing to the new Hun­gar­i­an Exter­nal Rela­tions Strat­e­gy “deep­en­ing co-oper­a­tion among the coun­tries of the West­ern Balkan region, their long-term sta­bil­i­ty, secu­ri­ty, democ­ra­cy, and their road to a mar­ket economy”[1] belong to the core of Hun­gar­i­an nation­al (geopo­lit­i­cal) inter­ests. The Strat­e­gy under­lines that “the most effec­tive way to achieve this in the long-term is to secure the Euro-Atlantic inte­gra­tion of all of its countries”.[2] Hun­gary sup­ports the ‘indi­vid­ual mer­it’ approach where­by the coun­tries well pre­pared for Euro-Atlantic inte­gra­tion “should not suf­fer because of lag­ging behind of oth­ers”. On the con­trary: “their progress should serve as an encour­ag­ing exam­ple to the coun­tries left behind, show­ing that effec­tive prepa­ra­tion brings about the desired outcome”.[3]

Hun­gary is active­ly pro­mot­ing the inte­gra­tion process­es of the con­cerned states into both NATO and the EU. Fur­ther­more, Hun­gary is also involved in region­al coop­er­a­tion fora such as the Cen­tral Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive or the Region­al Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil (suc­ces­sor of the Sta­bil­i­ty Pact for South East­ern Europe).These insti­tu­tions enable to tight­en region­al coop­er­a­tion and to assist the West­ern Balkan coun­tries in their prepa­ra­tions for mem­ber­ship in NATO and the EU. Hun­gary alone is also engaged in sev­er­al actions sup­port­ing the region, i.e. over 600 Hun­gar­i­an sol­diers are serv­ing in the West­ern Balka­ns in peace­keep­ing oper­a­tions, some 50 offi­cials par­tic­i­pate in EULEX (the EU’s rule of law mis­sion in Koso­vo), and Budapest is also spon­sor­ing the Szeged Process (launched for Ser­bia but lat­er extend­ed to all West­ern Balkan coun­tries) with the aim of shar­ing exper­tise in mat­ters of Euro-Atlantic inte­gra­tion. All this means that the coun­tries of the South-East Euro­pean region can count on Hungary’s lob­by­ing and sup­port in NATO and the EU regard­ing their entry – once the mem­ber­ship cri­te­ria are met.

In par­al­lel to these Hun­gar­i­an pri­or­i­ties anoth­er aspect must also be high­light­ed. While Hun­gary whole­heart­ed­ly sup­ports the Euro-Mediter­ranean (or Barcelona) Process, the Hun­gar­i­an diplo­ma­cy con­sid­ers it a mat­ter of high impor­tance that the Euro­pean Union devel­op inten­sive neigh­bourly rela­tions with its south­ern and east­ern part­ners in a bal­anced way with sim­i­lar polit­i­cal and finan­cial commitments.[4]

 

 

 

[1] Strat­e­gy pre­sent­ed by the Spokesman of the Hun­gar­i­an Min­istry of For­eign Affairs in Novem­ber 2008, sum­ma­ry avail­able at: http://www.kulugyminiszterium.hu/kum/en/bal/european_union/Latest+news/SZG_WBalkans_eng_081120.htm (last access: 27 Feb­ru­ary 2009).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Hun­gary con­sid­ers it a mat­ter of impor­tance that the EU devel­op rela­tions with its east­ern and south­ern neigh­bours in a bal­anced way – Lás­zló Várkonyi’s address to the MEDays con­fer­ence in Tang­i­er, press release of the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs, 28 Novem­ber 2008, avail­able at: http://www.kulugyminiszterium.hu/kum/en/bal/european_union/Latest+news/VL_MEDays_eng_081128.htm (last access: 27 Feb­ru­ary 2009).