Image of a fist holding a Hungarian flag.

Hungary’s multivector foreign policy

Playing All Sides

January 2021, Number 11.01

Hungary has gained political attention way beyond what would seem normal for a country of its size (less than 100,000 square kilometers), population (9.7 million) or economic weight (0.2% of world nominal gross domestic product, or GDP). This is due to the unique political course it has taken since2010 when Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was elected and formed his government. He was reelected in 2014 and 2018 and has a fair chance to continue in office after 2022. When Orbán’s Fidesz party came into office in free and fair elections in 2010, its main effort was to guarantee it would not lose subsequent elections. As a former Fidesz politician insightfully quoted Orbán: “We need to win only once, but we need to win big.” The realization of this project started immediately. The following elements seem to be the most important:

1. The government promptly announced that ethnic Hungarians beyond the border were eligible for Hungarian citizenship. Although unacceptable to some of Hungary’s neighbors, such as Slovakia and Ukraine, where dual citizenship was not recognized, other states, including Romania and Serbia, where together 1.4-1.5 million Hungarians lived, could take advantage of it...”

Excerpt from Pál Dunay, “Playing All Sides,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 11, No. 1, 2021: 16-23.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.