Country Overview U.S. FOREIGN POLICY AND FOREIGN ASSISTANCE OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES
Located in the heart of Central Europe, Hungary is a stable, democratic country that joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004. Hungary’s location makes it a key player in the stability of Central and Eastern Europe, where it has acted as a partner to neighboring countries that have not modernized or integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions as rapidly. U.S. interests lie with the further increase of Hungary’s already solid cooperation in the War on Terror, supporting its improved military and political performance in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and promoting the necessary reforms to fully complete the transition of the 1990s. Hungary remains an important economic partner as it works to improve its energy security, its investment climate and its transparency indicators. Due to its success in the transition to market-based democracy, Hungary no longer receives U.S. Government (USG) transition assistance. Public affairs programs support the full range of USG goals, while defense and security cooperation promote NATO and bilateral activities. USG assistance provided in Hungary is for targeted programs that complement the areas in which the U.S. and Hungary are partners. Overwhelmingly, our assistance supports peace and security activities in Hungary, with the goal of maintaining or enhancing their support for shared peace and security objectives. OPERATING ENVIRONMENT
In 2006, the governing Socialist-led coalition won re-election, then enacted sweeping government reforms designed to tackle the burgeoning fiscal deficit and entrenched bureaucracy. Many of these reforms support overall USG goals such as international financial stability, but they have at the same time caused an increase in inflation along with a major slow-down in growth. U.S. investors are taking note, and we take their concerns very seriously. However, our activities in this area are focused mainly on commercial advocacy and diplomatic engagement across the political spectrum. Hungary has graduated from transitional development assistance and is now a full member of the EU as well as NATO. Its successful bid to host the aircraft of the Strategic Airlift Consortium at Papa airbase represent a major step forward in its transition from consumer to contributor of international security.
FY 2007 Country Program PerformancePEACE AND SECURITYDefense Operations -
Hungary is a member of NATO and a partner in international operations and the war on terror. USG funding in this area focuses on support for military capabilities and training. The first priority for USG funds in FY 2007 was to help increase the deployable capability of the Hungarian Defense Forces. USG funds in FY 2007 supported the Special Forces Battalion and Qualification Course and the Combat Training Center (CTC), where Hungarian units now have the capability to conduct force-on-force training which will provide real-time feedback
Additionally, funding for exchange programs was instrumental in familiarizing key Hungarian official with U.S. policy and to encourage greater engagement on peace and security issues. Hungary sent 10 leaders to fully funded Marshall Center courses, with an emphasis on a more diverse pool of attendees from across the Hungarian Government’s security policy community.
Also, in FY 2007 USG funding assisted in the development of a more capable, interoperable, and deployable Hungarian military force. These funds have focused primarily on Special Operations Forces (SOF), deployable NBC/medical units, and a high-readiness light infantry unit. During FY 2007 a USG-funded Mobile Training Team successfully delivered a year of rigorous, quality training to Hungary’s Special Forces Battalion. FY 2007 was the first year beyond the era of legacy projects such as the CUBIC defense advisory contract, and the successful transition of out-year Air Sovereignty Operations Center away from USG financingMilitary Training -
During FY 2007 USG assistance funded training courses to develop 94 officers and enlisted students on infantry skills, Special Operations Forces (SOF) capabilities, medical capabilities, engineer skills, and Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) leadership development. Military Training remains a key assistance tool for the USG in Hungary.Public Diplomacy -
The Embassy’s Public Affairs Section supported a number of goals in the area of Peace and Security, including reducing trafficking in persons, and gaining support for U.S. foreign policy on security issues. Programs helped in gaining support among Hungarian parliamentarians for Hungary’s continued leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. Two programs in this category were NATO-organized travel/study tours for several print and broadcast journalists on NATO’s role in Afghanistan that included both briefings at Brussels and an in-theatre trip to Afghanistan reaped positive stories and media images that helps support Hungary contribution to alliance efforts there.