In Lieu of Memoirs

by:János Martonyi
Péter Pasztor – Translator

Helena History Press

Nation and Europe:
In Lieu of Memoirs

“János Martonyi (Hungarian Foreign Minister 1998– 2002, 2010–2014) chose not to write a memoir but instead in the past decade has penned a series of volumes based on his distinguished and pivotal role in Hungarian political life. This volume is a continuation-indeed a reiteration-of messages contained in three previous volumes. “Europe, Nation, Rule of Law” was published in 1998; “We and the World,” which contains his writings from 2002 to 2010, was published in 2015; and “Openness and Identity: Geopolitics, World Trade, Europe appeared in 2018.” The titles encapsulate in brief the books’ otherwise generically and thematically varied content and the main ideas defining them. These ideas have evolved and adapted to changing circumstances over the decades, but their essence has remained unchanged. This is why the collection of writings and talks of these recent years can be seen not simply as a continuation, a tracking of change, but as a persistent attempt to reiterate elements of permanence. For all the changes the world undergoes, its essence, people, their most important communities, above all the nation, the sense and experience of national belonging, the history, values, moral norms of humanity, and their origins do not change. Human nature is more perceptive of change and more attentive to the processes that bring about alteration. These essays plainly reveal the author’s intellectual and political creed, his conservative liberal patriotism, and his Euro-Atlantic commitment based on Hungarian national identity. The essays in this final volume “Nation and Europe” span Martonyi’s career as a lawyer, politician and university professor and offer the Anglophone reader an insight into one of the finest political minds in Europe today.”

— István Stumpf

János Martonyi was Hungary’s most talented Foreign Minister of the post-Communist era. Not the least of his many contributions to his country’s security and wellbeing was to ensure that Hungary has remained firmly anchored to Europe, notwithstanding temporary flirtations elsewhere. His latest book, ‘Nation and Europe’, is a highly readable distillation of the wisdom and historical vision that underlay his political achievement.

Sir Bryan Cartledge • Former British Ambassador to Hungary, author of ‘The Will to Survive: a history of Hungary’

In today’s world of profound changes we are all confronted with great challenges and problems that provide us with much insecurity. Janos Martonyi, the former Foreign Minister of Hungary, a passionate Hungarian and at the same time a profound European, tries to give personal answers and solutions, how to find the right balance between national and European identity, both indispensable for progressing on the economic, political and cultural dimension of the European integration, that has been very successful until now, but still has to continue to undergo further reforms in order to be able to master many of the actual crisis and progress. It is a book that comes at the right moment and should be read!

Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner • Former Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, former Commissioner of the European Union for External Affairs

This book of János Martonyi is a collection of essays and speeches addressing the reality gathering around us. It starts with a tribute devoted to International Law, European Law, and Hungarian Law. These three perspectives remain present in further texts as well, serving as outlook and angles of perception, while the focus is extending to history and culture. The author is shaping a true picture of the interplay of national and European identities on the fields (sometimes battlefields) of law, history, and culture. János Martonyi is a prominent lawyer and legal scholar. He also played an important role in Hungarian politics. The essays show that his political experience crafted enrichment, rather than impediment to thinking. His remarkable viewpoint leads to thoughts that are rising above polarization – and that are really worth reading.

Tibor Várady S.J.D. • Harvard Member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Emeritus Professor Emory University Atlanta

János Martonyi, the international lawyer, twice foreign minister, has been in the forefront of Hungary’s foreign policy since 1990, the formation of József Antall’s centre-right government. His essays and speeches from 2018 to 2021 are a testimony of Hungary’s commitment to the West and European values, dedication to the Visegrad Cooperation and to the rule of law. His message is timely, and extremely important both for the Hungarian and for the international public.

Géza Jeszenszky • Hungary’s Foreign Minister in 1990–94

János Martonyi, professor emeritus of the University of Szeged, formerly teaching at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest; College of Europe, Bruges and Natolin; Central European University, Budapest. Formerly managing partner of Baker & McKenzie, Budapest and member of the European Board of the law firm. State secretary in 1990–1994 and Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1998– 2002 and 2010–2014. Presently visiting professor at the University of Public Service, member of the Panel of Arbitrators of ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes), of the Board of MOL (Hungarian Oil Company), Chairman of the Centre for Democracy Public Foundation, member of the Advisory Board of the President of the Republic. Author of numerous books, essays and articles in the field of international trade law, European integration, cooperation in Central-Europe, geopolitics and international relations. 

Books published:

Európa, nemzet, jogállam (Europe, Nation, Rule of Law), 1989
Mi és a világ (We and the World), 2015
Nyitás és identitás – Geopolitika, világkereskedelem, Európa
(Opening up and Identity – Geopolitics, World Trade, Europe), 2018
Nemzet és Európa – Emlékirat helyett (Nation and Europe – In lieu of Memoirs), 2021

Leave a Reply