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  • 1 Eötvös Loránd University Budapest Hungary
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Almost each of the political forces and the great majority of the public saw no alternative to Euro-Atlantic integration, that is, accession to NATO and the EC (after 1992 the EU) when Hungary regained its independence in 1990. Membership in both organizations had a number of internal and external implications too. Budapest had to introduce sweeping reforms in practically all walks of life. Thus, for instance, NATO-membership required the establishment of a parliamentary democracy, a functioning market economy, and the observance of civil and human rights. At the same time, Hungary had to sign so-called basic treaties with three of its neighbors in which it again committed itself to peaceful relations and the renunciation of any attempt to regain territories it had lost to the countries affected after the First and the Second World Wars. EU-membership needed even more extensive restructuring of the various Hungarian institutions from law enforcement through finances to social services. In addition, Budapest expected that one of the major dilemmas of reconciling the so-called “Hungarian-Hungarian” question with the “good neighbor” policy would be settled within the framework of European integration. The expectations on behalf of the two sides have only been partially realized yet. Thus, Hungary consistently spends much less on defense than the required level within the Atlantic Alliance; Budapest has been trying to compensate with a relative prominent presence in foreign missions. As for the EU, the threat of a “second class membership” has not disappeared; in fact, after the beginning of the economic recession in 2008 it has even become a more realistic perspective; in reality, Hungary has had to accept a relative loss of power even in Central and Eastern Europe. However, Hungary has a vested interest in a “Strong Europe” (this was the official slogan of Hungary’s EU-Presidency during the first six months of 2011) in which “more Europe” should not exclude the country’s closer relations with other regions in the world.

  • See, for instance, Für, Lajos (2003) A Varsói Szerzõdés végnapjai — magyar szemmel (Budapest: Kairosz Kiadó), 137.

    , Für L. , '', in A Varsói Szerzõdés végnapjai — magyar szemmel , (2003 ) -.

  • On Russia's ambitions see, among others, Bugajski, Janusz (2004) Cold Peace. Russia's New Imperialism (Wesport, CT-London: Praeger); and Lucas, Edward (2009) The New Cold War. Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

    , Bugajski J. , '', in Cold Peace. Russia's New Imperialism , (2004 ) -.

  • Asmus, Ronald D. (2003) A NATO kapunyitása (Budapest: Zrínyi), 220.

    Asmus R. D. , '', in A NATO kapunyitása , (2003 ) -.

  • Huntington, Samuel P. (1985; first ed. 1957) The Soldier and the State. The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (Cambridge, MA-London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), especially Chapter 7.

    Huntington S. P. , '', in The Soldier and the State. The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations , (1985 ) -.

  • The EU Stabilization Conference (1995) provided for the observation of minority rights within the context of human rights (Point 5).

  • See Balogh, András (1998) Integráció és nemzeti érdek (Budapest: Kossuth), 26.

    Balogh A. , '', in Integráció és nemzeti érdek , (1998 ) -.

  • Lord Robertson in the capacity of the Secretary General of NATO suggested that the European allies should concentrate on three things: capabilities, capabilities, capabilities. The US has been outspending the European allies in defense-related expenditures for decades and, as a result, a capability gap has opened between the US and the Europeans. This gap even grew wider after the conclusion of the Cold War when the Europeans were busy accumulating the so-called peace dividends, which meant deep cuts in defense budgets. Now the common military operations may be at risk because of the capabilities gap - and we have not even discussed the other gap between the threat perceptions in Washington and in most of the European capitals.

  • Perhaps the article that evoked the strongest reactions was Celeste A. Wallander (November/ December 2002) ‘NATO's Price. Shape Up or Ship Out’ Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 6, 2–8.

  • Asmus, op. cit., 89.

    Asmus R. D. , '', in A NATO kapunyitása , (2003 ) -.

  • The question of cooperation among Czechoslovakia (after January 1, 1993 the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Hungary and Poland has always been disputed. Though at the birth of the Visegrad Three in early 1991 the idea was that the participating countries would be working together and assisting each other in their aspirations to join the Euro-Atlantic institutions, during the actual accession talks to the EU they were sometimes behaving as rivals and not as partners in some questions. In fact, the only institution established by the Visegrad Four is the Visegrad Fund, which promotes cultural exchange and the like; no formal institutionalized cooperation has been established in other fields. The Visegrad Summits are only informal meetings; the centrifugal forces such as the Hungarian-Slovak relations, the Polish ambitions to become one of the members of the Big 6 of the EU, the Czech skepticism, etc. have proved to be strong enough to prevent the creation of a powerful regional bloc. The real problem is that basic strategic questions concerning the rationale, the goals, and the vision of a common future have never been properly answered.

  • It does not mean that the “input” is more important than the “output”; that is, the amount of money spent on the military itself is not a guarantee that it is spent well. In a broader context, that is one of the most pressing problems with the European allies: there are a lot of duplications, waterheads, bloated bureaucracies, etc. which contribute to the capabilities gap between the US and the European members of NATO.