Our continent has been going through fundamental changes both from a political and a security point of view. A structure that dated back to nearly half a century, has be en disintegrated. The international system, based on the confrontation of two military blocs, nuclear deterrence, and the political-ideological division of Europe, has disappeared completely and forever. The Eastern pillars of this structure - the Warsaw Treaty, the Comecon, and the Soviet Union itself - have ceased to exist.
On the ruins, a part from some worrying phenomena, we are witnessing effarts to create a new, more just, and, hopefully, a more lasting order of peace in Europe. The new situation in Europe has multiplied the opportunities for dialogue, partnership, and cooperation between the countries of the former political 'East' and 'West'.
The contacts also being established in the military and military-diplomatic fields, may help to lay the foundations of a new co-operative security system on our continent. However, Mr. Chairman, it is hardly necessary to emphasize at this forum that despite the positive efforts, in this respect we are still far from a „Europe which is whole and free”. Our continent is still not free from certain dangers and threats, and its countries, or its groups of countries, are far from making a whole, single unit from the point of view of international security.
Mr.Chairman, the topic of my paper is security in Central Europe. I consider there to be every justification for mentioning this geographical-cultural entity separately. So I will return to this point later. However, speaking about the new risks and challenges, I should first like to deal briefly with the problems of the Eastern and Central European region as a whole, comprising all the former Communist countries of the continent.
The collapse of the Eastern bloc was met with great enthusiasm all over the world. The introduction of democratic institutions and the restoration of national sovereignty, suppressed until then in the region, justified this enthusiasm to a large extent.
However, as regards security in Eastern and Central Europe, there has not been an automatic improvement in the situation following these radical changes. Despite the fact that there is no more confrontation between East and West carrying the threat of global annihilation, new or reviving dangers have emerged in the area. The course of events became more complex, more volatile, and more unpredictable. The importance of the immediate geographical environment and the role of regional or local factors in security policy have increased, and the notion of security itself has become more differentiated, comprising more and more non-military aspects.
Most of the new risks result from the disintegration of the two multinational states, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and also from the multiplication of ethnic conflicts through out the region.
With the elimination of the political satellite status and the restoration of the full sovereignty of the various states, the movements of national self-determination have entered a new stage of development, with an unexpected impetus. This stage which has. proved to be much more complex and sensitive from an international security point of view than the previous one, has developed in multiethnic and multicultural states. The process, highlighting the frequent non-coincidence of the borders of nations and states, is leading to the emergence of new states and, at least to a certain extent, to the drawing of a new political map of Eastern and Central Europe. The effects of the dynamism of events, and the emergence of new actors in international relations are most directly being experienced by countries of Central and Eastern Europe, like Hungary which has acquired three new states as its neighbours in the past four months. The emergence of the new states or the re-definition of states emphasize even more the importance of ethnic minority problems of the region.
The events in the former Soviet Union and in Yugoslavia demonstrate that the international community should be playing a greater role in dealing with local ethnic conflicts. Clashes between 'majorities' and 'minorities' testimony that respect for human and minority rights is not merely a legal or humanitarian question but is also an integral part of the international collective security.
Therefore, these issues should be increasingly dealt with in the first basket - security questions - of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as in the third one, comprising the problems of human rights.
Besides CSCE, other organizations, bearing responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, have to take also resolute action in the international protection of these rights. As is shown by the deployment of UN peacekeeping-forces in the Southern Slav successor states, the presence of the United Nations Guard for guaranteeing the aforementioned rights wherever needed, should be considered an integral part of the tasks of the international peace-building community.
Historically, the conflict between the Southern Slav nations is not a new phenomenon, but what we have been witnessing for several months in this war, is the most bloody conflict on the entire continent since 1945. The internal war in the former Yugoslavia has affected the neighbouring countries, including Hungary, closely and most directly. Since its beginning last July, this conflict has meant a continuous violation of our air-space and of our borders , and it has reulted in the arrivaI of some 50,000 refugees in Hungary: this situation constitutes a serious threat to our security.
Generally speaking , just a few years ago, Hungary and the other one-time Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe were source countries of immigration, 'producing' refugees, whereas now Hungary has become a target country, facing immigrants who arrive from its Eastern and Southern neighbours, and also, in increasing numbers, from some Third World countries. The refugees and those seeking immigrant status, are fleeing economic hardship, civil war, or ethnic discrimination, but at the same time their flow constitutes an unprecedented challenge to the untested immigration policy and the fragile economic and social balance of the Central European countries.
This issue may become a direct security problem, just as the crises threatening our natural environment did. We were to inherit a considerable amount of environmental damage and hazard that resulted from the outdated economic structure and distorted decision making mechanism of the previous regime. Some nuclear power plants that lack appropriate safety standards and that use obsolete technology, as well as hydraulic power stations that pose the eventual danger of ecological catastrophes for the future, present new kinds of security risks in the region.
Mr.Chairman. A worrying security problem for the Central European countries is the situation resulting from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Fortunately, the disintegration process has so far been going on relatively peacefully in the European region, but the disputes between some successor states about the exact borderlines, and the division of the common military inheritance carry the seeds of serious future conflicts. The danger of nuclear proliferation as weIl as the fate of the sizeable conventional military force are matters of deep concern not only for the close neighbours but also for the entire world.
Therefore it is desirable that the emerging new states commit themselves both to the nuclear 'non-proliferation treaty', and to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). The latter is playing a key role in strengthening stability and security in the East-Central European area. It is in the interest of the nations living here that the treaty come into force as soon as possible, and its full implementation be started. This idea was also emphasized in the joint communique issued at the March 6 Budapest meeting of the defence ministers of the Visegrád regional cooperation.
Ladies and GentIemen,
Let me speak briefly, at this point, about the regional initiative between Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republic, and Poland, that started in February 1991. In an area which is general1y characterized by tendencies of disintegration, any joining of forces that aims at the development of international relations on the basis of the va-lues of democracy has a stabilizing effect. The three countries have both historical and present-day similarities. Similarities in their geostrategic position on the borderline of a stable and unstab1e Europe; their simi1ar achievements regarding the transformation of the previous political and economic system; but also, their similar problems when fac ing the new securi ty risks, and when transforming their armies into a reasonable and justifiable defence capability. All of these features serve as a basis for useful cooperation in many fields, security policy included.
At the same time, it must be emphasized that co-operation between the three countries is not directed against any other state and that they do not aim at forming a closed bloc. They are aware that seeking a separate security identity in Central Europe may entail the risk of separating themselves, once again, from the mainstream of European integration and transatlantic co-operation, and may result in a fragmentation into rivalling coalitions of the Eastern part of the continent. This, in turn, might lead to new divisions in Europe though the remains of the former one still have to be dealt with.
Budapest, Prague and Warsaw alike are interested in gradual integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic community as weIl as in the creation of a comprehensive but effective security system on the continent. They aim at making use of the new opportunities in security partnership cooperation emerging in the regular contacts with the Western European Union, with the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, with the institutions of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
It is not possible to give an exhaustive account of our relations with each of these three organizations, but starting from the main subject of the conference, let me speak about our links with WEU.
The Maastricht agreement has defined WEU as the defence-component of the European Political Union which, as NATO's European pillar, has to play a key role in creating a common security policy. Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republic and Poland have already signed an agreement with the European Community. This document forsees close politicai contacts between the EC and these states, and wants to promote their future convergence. Of the former Comecon countries, even at present, these are the ones that have the most intensive economic ties with the EC. It follows from their geographical position that their airspace and territory are contiguous with those of the West European countries, which can thus make cooperation easier in the field of security policy as weIl.
The intention of Hungary and the other Central European countries to get closer to WEU, first in the status of observers and later as associate members, will hopefully meet the organization's endeavour to widen its membership. We are confident that it is in the interest of the states belonging to the Western European Union, too, to assist the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe in consolidating their newly gained freedom and in integrating them more closely into a Europe of democracy and prosperity. The security of Western Europe is inseparably connected to that of each and every state in Europe in stabilizing the regions of the continent.
We therefore need close cooperation and joint action in security policy, designed to gradually develop towards the inclusion of a common defence policy. We need regular dialogue, and cooperation with WEU in crisis prevention and resolution, in issues of arms control and non-proliferation, and we need co-ordination with this organization in the implementation of CFE agreements, for instance with special emphasis on verification and monitoring activities.
Joint programmes with Central and Eastern Europe are needed to promote the principle of civilian oversight of the armed forces and to strengthen military professionalism in the region. We therefore propose the regular participation of East-Central European representatives and experts in the working groups and other fora of the WEU.
In order to facilitate communications between these countries and the WEU, the establishment of diplomatic relations and the further development of the parliamentary links with the WEU Assembly could also be of immmense benefit. These measures are designed to contribute to genuine partnership and will bring the stage of full integration closer.
Mr.Chairman. Fortunately various institutions exist in Europe that have so far demonstrated remarkable adaptability to the quickly changing reality of our international security environment. So we need not expect WEU alone to meet the new challenges facing our continent.
This is why we welcome the efforts towards a geographically or functionally coordinated division of labour, a sharing of tasks, between EC/WEU, NATO and CSCE wherever possible. There is no doubt that the concept of collective security in Europe today can only be built within a framework of these interlocking institutions. They might jointly contribute to the establishment of a stabilizing fabric of international relations on our continent.