The Implications of the Hungarian Nation Policy in Central Europe Since 1989: Between Tension and Integration

Laura Royer


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Since its democratic transition in the early nineties, Hungary has developed a foreign policy strategy, directed at Hungarian minorities abroad, known as ‘nation policy’ (nemzetpolitika). This nation policy can be conceptualised as a set of symbolic, financial, and political measures, and discourses directed at the Hungarian historical communities residing outside of the Hungarian state, aiming to strengthen Hungarian culture, language and influence in the Carpathian Basin.

In this paper, I seek to set out and analyse the implications of the Hungarian nation policy in Central Europe. After providing historical and conceptual background, I will argue that the Hungarian nation policy has in fact had contradictory outcomes in Central Europe, sometimesleading to confrontation with Hungary’s neighbours, while at other times instigating dialogue, integration and development. Ultimately, I will call upon critical perspectives, highlighting the challenges and limits of this governmental strategy.


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