Hungary plans to join EU nations

By Yoshinori Fukushima, Mainichi Shimbun, Thursday 4 November 1999

Hungary is planning to become a member of the European Union in 2002 as countries need to join hands with other countries to survive in Europe, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told the Japanese media late last week.

Martonyi, who has been visiting Asian countries including Japan, said he hopes that the European Union would set out organizational reforms in a Helsinki meeting slated for December for the organization to expand its membership to include more countries such as Hungary.

He also mentioned European security when talking about Hungary's joining NATO in March this year.

Hungary is geologically isolated from other NATO member countries, so the Atlantic security alliance should still maintain its open-door policy to receive more countries close to Hungary such as Slovenia, Slovak and Romania, he said.

Although NATO is a mainstay of security alliance in the region, European nations also have to enhance security capability by conducting their own peacekeeping operations, Martonyi said, indicating that NATO and the European Union may complement each other in security affairs.