Speech of President János Áder at staff meeting in Papa Air Base on the occasion of 15th anniversary of Hungary's accession to NATO
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although it is not marked red in the calendars, this is still a day to celebrate.
It is 15 years ago today that our country joined NATO, the world's strongest defense alliance. However recent this date may seem from a historic perspective, we can be certain that our accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has opened a new chapter in Hungary's history. The significance of this decision in our recent past is only measurable to our EU-accession. By joining NATO and the European Union we opened a new and truly 21st century chapter in the history of Hungary. All this was not without precedents.
During the years of the peaceful civic transitions which began 25 years ago, we Hungarians declared together to the world of our own will that we wished to live in freedom and democracy. We said “no” together to the dictatorship forced on us for decades and said “yes” together to seeing the future of our nation in the family of European civic democracies. Our decision to say “yes” also contributed to the end of Cold War opposition and the beginning of a peaceful reunification of Europe.
All that the Hungarian society resolved to do almost a quarter of a century ago was not without risks.