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Peragovics, T., Szunomár, Á.: The Great Connection – The Budapest-Belgrade Railway Project and Its Significance for Hungary’s Foreign Policy Identity.

The Great Connection – The Budapest-Belgrade Railway Project and Its Significance for Hungary’s Foreign Policy Identity

 

Authors: Tamás Peragovics, Ágnes Szunomár

In: Asian Perspective, 48(2), 253-275.

 

Abstract

This article investigates the significance of the Budapest-Belgrade railway project in the context of Hungary’s foreign policy identity under the Orbán regime. It claims that existing explanations have so far failed to appreciate the project’s symbolic importance for enacting and reproducing the Orbán government’s self-conception in foreign affairs. This self-conception is notable for locating Hungary at the crossroads, geographically as well as normatively, between East and West and for appraising the country as a great conduit between and across these spaces. By viewing the railway upgrade as an element of identity politics, the article moves beyond the literature’s crude notion that this is a political project simply because it seems not to make sense economically. We conduct a discourse analysis to trace the meaning of the project in a set of chosen texts from key actors in Hungarian politics. Besides appreciating the infrastructure project as a marker of identity, the article also shows that the Orbán government’s emphasis on connecting distant worlds reveals a normatively Chinese approach to international politics in Central and Eastern Europe.

AsianPerspective
2024.   Június  20.

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