Foreign Policy of Hungary Towards Ukraine or “European Menu à la Carte”

  • Post category:Issue XIX

Serhii Esaulov
Diplomat, postgraduate student at the Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


Abstract. The author raises the issue of settling conflicts around the world and discusses modern attempts to establish law and order. Particular attention is paid to the intricate relations between Hungary and Ukraine. With Russia’s aggression against Ukraine there was ruined a system of international relations, which provided for the rule of law, the right to settle disputes without applying military tools, force or threats. Russia initiated a new precedent of impunity, insolent violation of the fundamental norms of international law, and demonstrated the world how the borders may be redrawn as one sees fit and “bring historical justice”.
The author notes that one of the reasons for the escalation of the conflict between Hungary and Ukraine has become the language issue. Still, however pity it is, all attempts of the Ukrainian side to resolve conflict matters have appeared to be vane, since Budapest is reluctant to listen to and consider any arguments of Kyiv, being fully distracted by its demand. It is hard to imagine that in civilized “old” Europe, Germany, for instance, would express claims or even threaten France for the fact that pupils in schools of the French region of Alsace (until 1918, its territory formed part of Germany that attempted to annex it at times of the Second World War) are taught in the official language – French, not in the language of the neighbouring country, even though the Alsatian and German languages are equally spoken there.
Unfortunately, Hungary seems not to be ready to follow the example of the Franco-German reconciliation in terms of relations with all neighbours, despite the philosophy of its membership in the EU and NATO. The revenge-seeking attitudes of the Hungarian political establishment regarding the revision of borders according to the Versailles and Yalta systems of international relations are constantly boosted in all directions in the neighbouring countries, where ethnic Hungarians live (Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine). The so-called “formula of protecting interests of Russian citizens in Crimea and Donbas” adopted from Putin has apparently laid the foundation for the foreign policy strategy of V. Orban. First, as regards the appeal to make the region of ethnic Hungarians’ residence autonomous and subsequently – the appeal to hold a referendum on separation. The author summarizes that along with the political and diplomatic efforts, a substantial role in easing the tension in relations with Budapest should be played by non-governmental organizations and the expert community though holding forums and scientific conferences aiming at discussing the above-mentioned issues.
Keywords: Hungary, conflict, Law on Language, geopolitics, strategies, foreign policy, Ukraine.

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