and shelter from its own limited resources. Finally, Hungarian officials were upset about the economic effects of upholding the sanctions against Serbia, which cost Hungary about $1 billion in 1993.101
Under these circumstances, Hungary has been a willing participant in efforts with Poland and Czechoslovakia (and later its successors, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) to promote a new basis of consultation and cooperation among the three, now four countries. In Bratislava in April 1990, President Havel of Czechoslovakia and Hungary's outgoing president Mityas Szürös agreed to set up a joint commission to deal with ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia and the Slovak minority in Hungary. Although this was a modest achievement, it was certainly a first step of the new Hungarian democratic leadership to facilitate a reconciliation among the three countries and to set the stage for subsequent discussion and resolution of problems among them, such as ethnic minorities.102
The Hungarians hosted a next meeting of the three Central European neighbors at the Hungarian town of Visegrád in February 1991. At this summit, the participants reiterated their desire to join Western Europe. The Czechs and the Hungarians also discussed their differences over the Gabčikovo Dam and the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. The conference had a sense of urgency because of Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze's sudden and unexpected resignation in December 1990. Shevardnadze had been an advocate of Soviet reconciliation with the new East European governments. The three Central European countries also were concerned about Moscow's intervention in January 1991 to suppress sentiment in Lithuania in favor of separation from the Soviet Union. The Central European countries shared a sense of regional solidarity in the face of a possible resurgence of Soviet influence in the region given the Kremlin's tough policy toward the Baltic republics.103
Although no binding ties were negotiated, the meeting in Visegrád was significant in carrying the three Central European neighbors a bit closer to the kind of interstate cooperation that had eluded them in the interwar period. It also punctuated the readiness of postcommunist Poland and Czechoslovakia to put aside old anger toward Hungary caused by Budapest's cooperation with the Nazis. Finally, the Visegrád meeting opened the way for subsequent summit meetings of the three in Kraków in October 1991 and in Prague in May 1992, which continued the development of the new cooperation among them.
Apart from the fact that it had been nonviolent, the transition from communist authoritarianism to pluralistic democracy in Hungary was, perhaps, the smooth
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe:Political, Economic, and Social Challenges. Contributors: Minton F. Goldman - Author. Publisher: M.E. Sharpe. Place of publication: Armonk, NY. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 216.