A Hungarian Review interview with Gyula Kodolányi
HR: Do you have a good metaphor or image that might describe Antall as a political individual? For example, as a negotiator?
GyK: I have written several times about József Antall’s personality, taking a different approach each time. I would say that in political battles and tense diplomatic discussions, he most resembled a fencer. He was able to observe quietly, and then, at the right moment, attack suddenly, then withdraw. But for the most part, he sought to win the sympathy of the negotiating partner, and to do so, he would always prepare himself intellectually and psychologically for the meeting. In this way, he was able to resolve many sharp conflicts, as witnessed by my handwritten records that I took as a note-taker during a number of his “tête-à-tête” discussions.
Despite his confessed tendency to take risks and go headlong into battle – an Aries quality, he claimed (Kései memoár – Late Memoir, p. 159.) – I would say that Antall had a strong comtemplative side, which combined a talent for systematic analysis with a Confucian temper. He was highly attuned to the importance of moderation, proportion, formulae, and his interactions reflected his respect for human dignity. But he was also able to wait patiently for a process to take its course, to show its true nature, before he intervened. In Latin style, he appreciated and loved the small joys of life, though during his term as Prime Minister he had precious few of these – he did not even have time for his favourite sports of horse-riding and swimming.
HR: Jumping ahead a little: how did Antall’s long struggle with illness affect you?
GyK: I believe that his fate hastened the maturing of his leadership abilities: from the start, he knew and accepted that he might well die in the course of fulfilling his chosen destiny. Some of his doctors told him he had three years left. This knowledge seems to have marshalled remarkable reserves of strength in him: for three years, he was in full command even during the different phases – some better, some worse – of his battle with cancer. He did not reduce his workload even while undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy. He maintained the highest standards of achievement, while displaying a level of human fortitude that I have seldom witnessed in anyone else. I remember several of our confidential Friday afternoon conversations, which extended into the evenings: we sat in his office in semi-darkness because the lamplight hurt his eyes. The fact that more than half a million people came to pay their respects when he lay in state at the Parliament in December 1993 proves that ordinary people still retain a spirit of compassion and fairness; and that the quiet moral courage of a great human being, who avoids false pathos, does move people immensely.
HR: What was the role and importance in your own life of your friendship and collaboration with József Antall?
GyK: Given all of the above, it will be no surprise when I say that, for me as a writer and poet, my friendship and working relationship with him represented the beginning of a new era. It was then that a long process of personal change – my progressive alienation from the more extreme forms of 1970s modernism – came to a head for me. While I still found open-ended forms to be appealing, I increasingly appreciated those elements of tradition that can be viable today (for example, in 1995, I started writing sonnets). It was then that I recognised that liberty is not the same as libertinism; in fact, the two can be in opposition. During this time, I developed what might be termed “organic conservatism”: respect for the many variations and traditions in life, and simultaneous efforts to preserve and renew them.
My earlier decision to remain apart, in my own world, was a keystone of my opposition to the Kádár regime. But during my two decades of opposition activism, my stance increasingly shifted toward a search for worthwhile community action. Meanwhile, with my focus on American studies, I gained a better and deeper understanding of the variations of modernism and democracy and their present- day problems. I gained a new sense of the traditions bequeathed to me by my father’s and my mother’s families; since the 1830s, these families had produced ministers, lawyers, doctors, scientists, soldiers, engineers, agriculturalists and artists for our country, and they all took part in community affairs. Now, influenced by József Antall and my growing responsibilities, all of this converged in me. I finally realised, deep down, what it means that actions have consequences – even life-or-death consequences. The fact is, despite the wisdoms of hindsight uttered by historians today, in 1990 the outcome and the progress of our experiment in transforming the system were not foreordained. Indeed, there were many touch- and-go moments. In sum, the whole story was a process of initiation for me.
HR: How did the role of the Advisors develop during Antall’s term as Prime Minister?
GyK: From the beginning, Antall believed that the Prime Minister and his Office should have a strong role, but he had to balance this with another of his principles: that the other Ministers also have powerful roles and genuine responsibilities as holders of their portfolios. This setup also served as protection for the Prime Minister, and for the stability of the whole government. For example, during the taxi drivers’ blockade, Antall waited for the right moment, when he could make a statement in a victorious position. This was the famous “pyjama interview”, which projected the image of the Prime Minister as a unifying leader, one who can achieve calm during a time of national distress.
It was no coincidence, of course, that he had just undergone cancer surgery. On the third day of the taxi blockade, when I suggested to him by phone that it might be high time for him to make a statement, he responded that the time had not yet come for him to take a personal role. He was right.
It was evident that a government presiding over systemic change could be led only by a Prime Minister’s Office whose policies were based on clearly defined principles, an office that could focus on the government’s strategic plans under the personal direction of the Prime Minister. During the six months starting in October 1989, a trusted circle of insiders was formed, who later would become Advisors to the Prime Minister, or important Ministers, or key members of the parliamentary fraction. These included György Szabad, Imre Kónya, Ferenc Kulin, Béla Kádár and Péter Bod, as well as the writer Dénes Csengey from the party, and naturally the iconic writer Sándor Csoóri, the spiritual leader of MDF; and Antall’s first office manager, György Csóti. The young Chief of the Cabinet Office, István Forrai. And Géza Jeszenszky.
During the six weeks after the elections, the formation period of the government, Antall held private daily consultations with O’sváth, Tar and myself, and we then became the leaders of the Prime Minister’s circle of advisors. You will be my staff officers, extensions of my hands, Antall would say: you will be flexible, and independent of the bureaucracy.
Our circle also included Dr György Kiss, another of Antall’s friends from his youth, whom Antall entrusted with various minor personnel and organisational issues, including managing public opinion surveys and training courses for our party’s parliamentary representatives. In the summer of 1991, it was revealed that up until spring 1990, over the course of several decades, Kiss had provided the Communist Secret Service with regular reports on Antall’s activities. György Kiss became very ill in the aftermath of the revelation; after he recovered, he was assigned a lesser advisory role in a Ministry. Antall too was shaken by the discovery, but he also reacted with forbearance and pity. Though he ceased to have contact with György Kiss, he considered him primarily a victim of the system. At the time, many people came to realise how the Communist system diabolically entwined and psychologically terrorised some of our close friends as its agents. These were people who, in more fortunate lands, would have lived serene and upright lives, and would not have been subjected to unbearable psychological pressures from a vile political system.
Meanwhile, I began organising a group of expert advisors from among the party’s steering committee and outstanding members of the various opposition movements: this would become the Prime Minister’s Staff of Advisors. I became its leader, as well as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor. Its members were all friends of mine, of course, but each of them had considerable expertise in one or more areas. Tar and O’sváth became the PM’s Personal Advisors with wide-ranging themes. As foreign citizens, they worked for the PM part time and did not receive salaries. Cooperation among us was smooth and continuous, although formally they did not belong to the Staff. They were was also joined by Ottó Hieronymi, a Battelle expert from Geneva, who became the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisor. I worked with him extensively in the coming years on the Prime Minister’s two most important financial and economic projects: an international solution for debt relief, and the Prime Minister’s economic revitalisation programme (GAM) committee. Hieronymi was fully committed to the social market economy model.
HR: In other words, the circle of advisors was not really a formal group.
GyK: Every government or Parliament includes members whose official position is further strengthened by possessing the Prime Minister’s personal trust, or even his friendship. In certain issues, the Prime Minister will turn to them as much as to his appointed advisors. Politics is a very personal thing – much more so than political scientists and historians imagine or describe it. Mutual trust and individual character are of key importance – at least as important as talent and knowledge, and this is true in every area of politics, everywhere in the world. When stakes and tensions are high, the friendship or animosity factor carries even more weight. It is no surprise, then, that even far-reaching international issues are decided by the quality of the key players’ interpersonal relationships, communication, and level of mutual respect. During the era of post-Communist transition, for example, President George Bush Sr enjoyed particularly close relationships with Margaret Thatcher and Chancellor Kohl, who in turn both had tremendous respect for József Antall. And this circumstance won Hungary a great deal of prestige.
HR: How was Antall’s office structured with respect to its professional and political personnel?
GyK: Antall strengthened his staff by naming Ferenc Mádl – to become President of the Republic between 2000 and 2005 – as Minister without Portfolio in charge of EU and privatisation issues. These strategic issues were thus removed from the purview of the Ministries. For Antall, Mádl increasingly became a source of personal support, a close friend and intellectual partner, though they came to know each other only after the new government was formed. Mádl also dealt with the Gabcikovo–Nagymaros dam project, the ensuing diplomatic conflict between Hungary and Slovakia, and the dispute settlement at the International Court of Justice at The Hague. In this connection, Mádl intensified his cooperation with us Advisors, since both Csaba Ferencz and I had been very active in the Nagymaros movement opposing the dam project on the Danube.
Antall also created a Secretariat for Economic Affairs, headed by György Matolcsy, within the Office of the Prime Minister. Matolcsy, today the Governor of the Hungarian National Bank, was very young and sharp, full of energy, and soon came into conflict with the wavering Finance Minister Ferenc Rabár, the protégé of Alexandre de Lámfalussy, the first director of the EU’s central bank.Rabár resigned in late 1990, citing the conflict. The details of the row were unfortunately aired in the media. Antall’s disciplinary response was to remove Matolcsy from his post, then delegate him to the newly formed EBRD in London. The conflict was emblematic of the larger strategic disputes over the government’s economic policy: disputes for which no fully satisfactory or final solutions were available. The economic transition was unprecedented in European history, with the possible exception of the reconstruction of Germany after 1945. There were considerable differences between the none-too-friendly or imaginative recommendations of international financial organisations on the one hand, and the humanly and economically desirable policies of gradual transition that would fit Hungary’s particular conditions, on the other. Conceptual differences were also evident in the government’s internal economic debates.
HR: Which issues came under the direction of the Advisory Staff?
GyK: Every issue that did not belong to anyone else; every issue that came to our attention, or which was of particular concern to the Prime Minister; issues of principle and personnel alike. For example, at my suggestion the Prime Minister invited former radio journalist Judit Juhász to be government spokesperson after the taxi drivers’ blockade, during which our communication had been stiff and awkward. Her winning personality, empathy and outstanding communications skills were of great benefit to the PM’s office.
Or, for instance, during the taxi drivers’ blockade, we walked over to President Göncz’s office with the Minister of the Interior Balázs Horváth and Csaba Ferencz, to ask the Head of State’s consent to remove the taxi barricades with the help of mobile Army cranes. Göncz, whom I had known as an opposition comrade for fifteen years, went red in his face and shouted: “I am the Commander in Chief and I forbid the use of the military against civilians.” In fact, we suggested the use of trucks – not troops. As I jumped from Göncz’s armchair in his Parliament office, the carved armrest tore in two the lining of my jacket – a memento I kept for a long time.
Even under normal circumstances, problems came to us from all sides, from parliamentary representatives, non-governmental experts, and the ordinary man on the street. So we became not only the hands of the Prime Minister, but also his antennae. The incoming suggestions, questions, complaints and expectations demonstrated our importance, but their sheer volume exceeded our capacity. The Advisors’ Office ought to have been further developed and expanded, but after the taxi blockade it seemed to me that the Prime Minister preferred to pass as many issues as possible over to the Ministries. Probably he believed that due to the uncertain outcome of his illness and treatment, the Ministries should, to the extent possible, fulfil their functions on their own.
Nevertheless, major issues remained that only the Prime Minister and his Advisors could deal with. These included long-running issues, such as the economic revitalisation project I mentioned earlier. We created that project by-passing Finance Minister Mihály Kupa because by then Antall had realised that the fiscal philosophy of the Finance Ministry was hindering the quest for our own path for the Hungarian transition. Given this big picture, after the taxi drivers’ blockade, the Prime Minister appointed me Titular State Secretary, with a permanent invitation to participate in government meetings. With my appointment to the government meetings, Antall wanted to provide me and the Advisory Office and the significant circle of intellectuals and experts around us, with a more substantial grasp of the governmental process, and receive our feedback and propositions. Indeed, one could not understand the directions of governance, nor the political personality of Antall, without involvement in the debates and atmosphere of the government sessions. They were another theatre where Antall could muster exceptional abilities. Many law proposals, coming from the bureaucracy, had to be re-written, in order to be adjusted to the spirit of the Transition.
In fact I already sat in at ad hoc Government sessions during the taxi drivers’ blockade. Between the end of 1990 and June 1994, I attended about 150 such weekly meetings, sitting at the head of the table, the second on Antall’s left. But for my official travels I would have attended an even greater number of such meetings. At my right sat József Kajdi, State Secretary for the PM’s office, and at my left, at the top of the longer side of the table, was seated my friend, Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky, with whom we would share files and toss each other handwritten memos on foreign affairs during the ten-hour meetings. At Antall’s right sat the Chief of Cabinet Office, István Forrai and his Deputy. In summer 1991 Endre Marinovich, an experienced economic diplomat, was appointed Chief of Cabinet Office, and Forrai became his Deputy.
HR: With the enormous bunch of responsibilities it entailed, and with the Prime Minister’s change of mind about the Advisors’ Office, heading the team must have been a great burden on you.
GyK: The Advisors’ work did not go without tensions. As is often the case, some of the Ministers were not pleased when the Prime Minister’s Office interfered in their work. But even within the PM’s Office there were tensions: occasional overlaps among spheres of authority over an ever-growing number of issues are inevitable among the civil service, the Cabinet Office and the Advisors. As is clear from the memoirs of George Bush Sr and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, tensions between the chief of staff and the chief advisor are a common effect of the multiple structures of the President’s and the PM’s Offices everywhere. Antall, too, was aware of this tension, and finally, in the summer of 1992, he recommended that the Advisors’ Office be dissolved. The Advisors should come under the direction of the Cabinet Office, he suggested and I should remain as Senior Advisor for Foreign Affairs, with the title of Titular State Secretary.
I accepted this, and I only kept my Diplomatic Councillor Edith Muharay, a journalist who acquired a degree in Political Science and Sociology in Louvain, Belgium, and a Secretariat headed by Márta Varga, who also had diplomatic experience and spoke and wrote in three languages. In truth, as I mentioned, the half-formed Advisors’ Office could not have coped with the volume of tasks. This was a basic organisational problem. And I personally did not like being the boss. “Primus inter pares” is more my style. And I did not wish to be the boss in managing bureaucratic issues and the personal conflicts my brilliantly intellectual yet highly strung colleagues reaped in the tough political theatre. I became exhausted and was twice hospitalised – once in Washington in October 1991, and again in Budapest in May 1992. These were temporary problems, but serious enough warnings from my body.
In a larger perspective, such clashes among Advisors and public servants were a part of the painful process of the consolidation of government structures – hard to digest for intellectuals soon in the aftermath of their revolution. And no doubt, such a consolidation impoverishes governance of many new ideas, of imagination.
HR: Do you look back on the Advisory Council’s two years as a failure?
GyK: Not at all. We achieved great things; we called the government’s attention to law proposals and trends that were in opposition to a successful Transition; and it was good to cooperate with many outstanding individuals in the Ministries and in Parliament. Duna Television, Central Europe’s first satellite cultural television programme, was the brainchild of the Advisors’ Office, and we brought it into being, in collaboration with the relevant Ministers. In this process, Csaba Ferencz, with his high-level experience and contacts in broadcast technology, played a major role. Gábor Czakó, a friend and fellow writer, left the Office in 1992 when he took on the Director’s job at the new pro-government newspaper, Új Magyarország, which intellectually was also the Advisors’ creation. The fact is, after 1990, there was no fair-minded reporting of the government’s intentions – of the centre right – with the exception of the struggling, new Pesti Hírlap, the personal venture of entrepreneur István Varga, which came out in support of our policies of transition. We were surprised that the majority of post-Communist journalism, under pretext guise of “independence”, adopted the rhetoric and style of the left-liberal opposition parties with a passionate bias – a historic error and failing of this journalistic sub-culture. A host of new laws should have been fairly interpreted for the citizens. Responding to the aggressiveness of the anchors on Hungarian State Television (M1, M2) and Nap TV in 1993–94, Mitterrand’s campaign advisor Claude Martì told us that it resembled something he had last seen in Gabon. Their antipathy took advantage of our basic goodwill, but then were sponded. Új Magyarország developed into a viable, high-quality newspaper, while Duna Television, broadcasting for Hungarian communities beyond the borders or in diaspora, maintained an impartial stance, with Sándor Csoóri and myself as Chairmen of the Board.
Among the Advisors, Sándor M. Kiss did an outstanding job on such issues as rehabilitating the victims of Communism, and uncovering the terror actions against civilians by the Communist political police and paramilitary forces after the Revolution of 1956. It is partly due to his years of work in the PM’s Office that he is considered today as a leading authority on Hungary’s history of the last 70 years.
As for my work as foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister – I think that would need a separate chapter.
HR: Let us first talk about the Prime Minister’s programme of foreign affairs, which took off with spectacular verve in June 1990. Where did you come in? How were the responsibilities delegated?
GyK: From the start, we made sure we had a transparent but flexible structure in place, myself accompanying Antall on his trips as Prime Minister, while Jeszenszky did his own rounds as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The two would hardly ever travel together, except for special occasions such as the official visit to the US in October 1990 or the negotiation of the Helsinki Accords in Paris in November the same year. This casting worked out perfectly. Jeszenszky and Antall maintained round-the-clock communications, including quick phone calls, and after a while I represented the PM’s Office in Jeszenszky’s weekly briefings of senior Foreign Ministry officials. Both Jeszenszky and myself felt comfortable about our respective roles, accepted Antall’s pre-eminence on strategic issues, and had nurtured a friendship based on mutual trust for decades. As a milestone on the road of meshing gears and further deepening mutual trust, we had both taught at UC Santa Barbara in the mid-1980s – Jeszenszky taught Central European history, myself American and Hungarian literature.
HR: How did the foreign policy programme take off, then?
GyK: Antall carefully laid out the paths to be taken in late June, after his trip to Moscow to attend the annual meeting of Warsaw Pact member countries, where he happened to serve as Chairman that year. As I have mentioned, it was at this event that Antall announced Hungary’s intention to secede and urged for the dissolution of the Pact. As the drama played out over the course of two days, Gorbachev bowed to Antall’s unexpected head-on offensive, although in a closing statement the Soviets managed to hammer through a softer version. At the time, neither the Poles nor the Czechs had the guts to openly side with Antall’s radical point of view, despite concurring with him in private. The close ally Antall had taken with him on this trip was Minister of Defence Lajos Für, while Jeszenszky was away in Paris making introductions at the Western European Union (WEU) headquarters. The delegation to Moscow included President Árpád Göncz, albeit his role remained symbolic and ceremonial under prevailing provisions of the Hungarian constitution.
HR: It was evidently because of the closing statement phrased by the Soviets that Antall considered it imperative to divulge the true version of the Moscow story to Die Welt am Sonntag on 16 June.
GyK: Yes, obviously. Antall never left things to chance in truly important affairs. Just as characteristically, he always exercised great care in composing his delegations. For instance, he hardly ever counted on my person in matters involving Soviet relations, simply because he knew I was no Russia specialist. In this specific arena, he especially relied on his own personal top level communication from 1990 until his death, with Gorbachev and Yeltsin, but also with Soviet (later Russian) ambassador to Budapest Ivan Pavlovich Aboimov. Aided by a perfect command of the Hungarian language, Aboimov was a remarkable diplomat who had formerly served as General Secretary of the Warsaw Pact. They managed to maintain a genuinely cordial and fair relationship, even during some of the most heated episodes of the power struggles in Moscow. In late 1995 or early 1996, Aboimov once invited me to lunch and confessed poignantly to the deep impact Antall had on him as an individual and professional, as a partner of uncompromising fairness and broad vision. This sympathy between Antall and Aboimov yielded immense returns for Hungary, and stands in and of itself as an eloquent refutation of the pet accusation often voiced by the socialists that we neglected Russian relations.
HR: I am inclined to think that this attitude, of not shying away from affirming national interests while remaining empathetic to the Soviet Union, had been virtually unprecedented from any Hungarian or Central European politician for forty years.
GyK: This is as good a point as any to recall what Antall said about the Russian political mindset in an interview given to Judit Osskó on 4 July 1992:
On their part […] they always like to keep things predictable […] and were irritated by the European Left which they failed to comprehend. They preferred pure dialogue and straight talk – something they were not known for themselves but always welcomed from others as a form of reassurance. (Kései memoár – Late Recollections, p. 78).
I might add that Antall had been intimately familiar with Russian mentality. His father and grandfather had both done time as prisoners of war after World War I, and came back with swarms of stories for the family. He himself was interrogated by a Russian colonel in the wake of the Revolution of 1956. It was this familiarity that enabled Antall to package the harshest analyses in a manner acceptable to Gorbachev, and earned him respect in the eyes of Yeltsin, whom he called during the KGB’s coup attempt headed by Yanayev on 19 August 1991. On the occasion, while many leading politicians in the world wavered, Antall hurried to reassure Yeltsin and Gorbachev of his support for the legitimate Russian and Soviet leadership.
But to retrace my steps: whereas my own natural, permanent partners were the Ambassadors to Budapest – such as Charles Thomas, John Birch, Pierre Brochand, Joseph Nitti, Hans Beck and others – in Russian relations my regular contact for four years was the First Councillor, the DCM at the Embassy. And, to be honest, this was another relationship immune to interference from any form of discord. Furthermore, I personally witnessed two confidential talks, at a tête-à-tête and a lunch, between Antall and Yeltsin in Budapest in 1991, so what I am saying here is based on first-hand experience rather than just confidential reports by Antall.
After Finance Minister Mihály Kupa had proved incapable of fending off unreasonable Soviet demands, Antall entrusted the bilateral talks of 1991 about breaking even with the Soviet Union to Béla Kádár, Minister of External Economic Relations. These rather tough negotiations benefited greatly from the contribution of patriotic military leaders, notably General Antal Annus, who had been trained in the Soviet Union.
HR: How did official governmental relations with the West begin?
GyK: Already by the second half of 1989 there had been a period of active foreign policy for Antall, both informally and in terms of party relations. I mentioned above our ties with Vienna and Brussels, and the meeting with Mitterrand. To quote some others, in December 1989, Alain Juppé and Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Budapest heading an RPR (Rassemblement pour la République) delegation. In January, Antall and Jeszenszky went on a week-long tour in Washington, meeting President Bush, several notable members of the American political elite, and leaders of the expat Hungarian community in the US. Subsequently, the two flew to London on a small British government craft for a brief visit proposed by Margaret Thatcher. In early April, former French President Giscard d’Estaing spoke at the MDF’s closing campaign rally in Budapest as a follow-up to Antall’s October 1989 visit in Paris. Then, there was the Council of Europe general sessioninBudapestinmid-May,alreadymentioned,whichbroughtforAntall the sympathy and admiration of General Secretary Catherine Lalumière. She may have been one of the moving forces behind the Robert Schuman Prize that Antall received as a dedicated Europe-builder in Strasbourg in October 1991.
HR: Would you like to mention some of your own memorable encounters?
GyK: Prince Charles and Diana came to Budapest on an official visit at the beginning of May. Antall, Jeszenszky, Tamás Katona and myself received the Prince in the Parliament. A dinner for about forty followed at the residence of British Ambassador John Birch, myself seated directly to the right of Charles, and later, following a reshuffling of seating order based on the English protocol of rotation, to the right of Diana. Instead of toasts and speeches, Birch, a friend for some ten years, had proposed that I recite a poem of mine in Hungarian and in English translation to honour the distinguished couple. Needless to say, Prince Charles proved to be a highly cultivated and attentive guest, whom I have my good fortune to thank to have shared a meal with, and whose intellectual mentor I knew had been Laurens van der Post, the South African writer I deeply cherish.
HR: Are you saying, then, that the June 1990 official trips to the West followed well-trodden paths?
GyK: Indeed, this was the case. As I hope to have made clear, on the international political stage Antall was not regarded as some “dark horse” who showed up out of the blue to occupy the Prime Minister’s velvet chair. He was considered an earnest candidate with a serious chance of winning, and had been approached to divulge his plans before the elections.
HR: What is the reason for the notable prominence, even in our shrinking world, of foreign policy in Antall’s governance?
GyK: For Antall, a fast reintegration to the West was a strategic priority. Until the formalisation of this reintegration in memberships in NATO and the EU, Hungary and the whole of East Central Europe had to be embedded in a rich and complex texture of personal and institutional relationships, he thought. Such a web of partnerships with the West then would make change irreversible, and would also create a favourable climate for the solution of economic tasks, of the economic Transition, too.This was the ultimate motivation of his statesmanship, which climaxed in October 1992, when NATO’s AWACS reconnaissance planes, on the basis of a bilateral agreement, began to supervise South East Europe from the Hungarian air space – thereby granting Hungary with a de facto security umbrella at the time of the Yugoslav War, and a unique tie with the North Atlantic Alliance.
Translation by Katica Avvakumovits, Péter Balikó Lengyel and the author
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