The EU Strategy fitted well into Hungary’s commitments
Hungary has been a party of all multilateral treaties and agreements on the non-proliferation of WMD, and has not had any activity (of its own) falling under their prohibition since the Second World War. Within the framework of the Warsaw Treaty Organization developing any WMD program or capacity without the approval of the Soviet Union was out of question, and the Eastern bloc policy was the proactive participation in the WMD non-proliferation regimes. Following the regime change in 1989, Hungarian foreign policy priority of joining the Euro-Atlantic community further strengthened this commitment. Therefore, the adoption of the EU Strategy against the spread of WMD fitted well into Hungary’s commitments and policies. Consequently, the Strategy is not part of the public discourse in Hungary and being a small country, only a small number of experts are following the issue. That being said, those experts believe that the Strategy is a welcome development, one that harmonizes well with 2003 ESS and the findings of the 2008 ESS review. This is well reflected in the new National Security Strategy of Hungary published in 2012, which has been drawn up based on the ESS and using the relevant ESS and NATO New Strategic Concept terminology.
Nonproliferation and disarmament per se is not among the main fields of research of the HIIA, however, due to HIIA’s philosophy (each researcher should have a theoretic and a regional expertise) and staff capacities non-proliferation and disarmament case studies are frequent. HIIA's focus regarding nonproliferation issues mostly, but not exclusively, concentrates on the Central European context, in cooperation with other think tanks in Central Europe, Russia and the US. Recently, non-proliferation in the Middle East, including the Iranian nuclear debate and the planned WMDFZ negotiations, have also been in the forefront of activities. HIIA researchers are participating in international projects, conferences and seminars organized on these subjects by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, the Pugwash Movement, PRIF (Frankfurt), ACSIS (Amman) and CSR (Tehran). In a joint project with the MFA, HIIA is currently working on a "Nonproliferation and Disarmament Handbook" in Hungarian aiming at providing the experts, the students and the public with a complete guide to non-proliferation and disarmament, covering both conventional and WMD weapons.
Interview conducted by
Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), Paris
Although Hungary perceives no direct military threats, global concerns, such as the proliferation of WMD and their delivery vehicles are mentioned in the National Security Strategy. To counter such threats Hungary joined and has actively participated in all WMD-relevant verification organizations and export control regimes. In the short to medium term the most imminent challenges Europe should be concerned with are the transportation of dual use items suitable for use in proliferation-sensitive technologies as some precedents have shown that this is a real possibility on the territory of the EU. In this context the appearance of private companies in the R&D and production – of especially the dual use materials, equipment and technologies - is a further, yet unsolved challenge. The failure of the international effort to find a solution to the lack of a verification system within the BTWC should also be mentioned. Hungary was deeply involved in the relevant negotiations headed by Ambassador Tibor Tóth, and has supported all further initiatives and confidence-building measures to this end. Finally, the decision on the US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe will have to be made.