1. bookVolume 9 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
15 Dec 2015
Publication timeframe
1 time per year
access type Open Access

Evaluating Hungary’s Participation in the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy

Published Online: 13 Aug 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 9 (2021) - Issue 1 (June 2021)
Page range: 45 - 64
Journal Details
First Published
15 Dec 2015
Publication timeframe
1 time per year

Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 but started to participate in EU crisis management operations well before. Since the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was a new policy area at that time, it was an extraordinary experience for Hungary to be integrated into a policy still under development.

Aft er briefly detailing the foreign and security policy options Hungary faced right after the transition from communism, this paper analyses Hungary’s contribution to the CSDP. The CSDP is based on two pillars — one operational and the other related to capability-building. The paper first analyses Hungary’s participation in the civilian and military operations launched in the framework of the CSDP. Specifically, it explores the operations Hungary has joined, the kind of capacities it has contributed and the deficiencies and problems that have emerged in this sphere. Second, the paper addresses Hungary’s perspectives and aspirations regarding capability development. Specifically, it looks at how Hungary views the future of the CSDP, especially in light of the country’s participation in permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), the central element in the EU’s joint defence capability development.

Methodologically, the paper employs qualitative content and discourse analysis, drawing on relevant secondary literature and analyses of official EU and Hungarian (legislative and non-legislative) documents. Surveying Hungary’s participation in EU crisis management operations since the beginning of the CSDP, the paper finds it has joined 42 per cent of civilian and 70 per cent of military operations. These have been in the immediate neighbourhood but also distant locations (Africa, Central Asia, and the Near East). At the same time, distinct challenges have hampered Hungary’s contribution to certain operations, such as a dearth of foreign language skills and a lack of strategic airlift and mobile logistics capabilities. The paper also finds that regional defence cooperation was not the central driver of cooperation within PESCO projects. Overall, Hungary is somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of the number of PESCO projects it participates in.


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