Árpád Göncz

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Árpád Göncz in 1999

Árpád Göncz (10 February 19226 October 2015) was a Hungarian writer, translator, agronomist, and liberal politician who served as President of Hungary from 2 May 1990 to 4 August 2000. He was Hungary's first freely elected head of state, following the end of communist rule in 1990.


  • We have a shared responsibility to ensure that the worldwide and irreversible victory of freedom and democracy doesn't remain merely a scenario. We must work together so that the actors in the story of the 21st century are able to live in prosperity and integrity, at peace with themselves and each other. Hungary is a responsible and reliable partner of the United States in this.
  • For a thousand years we have held the view that the fate and future of Hungary and Europe are indivisible. The key to the survival and development of the Hungarian people in the heart of the continent, in the Carpathian Basin, can only be inseparably bound to political and economic Europe.
  • The present level and quality of Hungary and American relations is the result of an ongoing process of development which has been driven by shared principles and goals, and the mutual benefit of practical cooperation. It is especially encouraging to see that our relations also extend to new areas and regions which represent preparation to face the challenges of the future.
  • We live in a time of opportunities, and the United Nations is at a crossroads. Only a reformed United Nations can be a catalyst in our endeavours to create a safe and secure world, where freedom, democracy and respect for human rights flourish. We should redouble our efforts to revitalize the United Nations. To this effect, there can be no delay in restructuring and streamlining the costly bureaucracy of the United Nations system. We have to rationalize the work of the General Assembly. Enlargement of the Security Council, along with enhancement of its effectiveness, is more than necessary. Financial reform of the United Nations is a must.
  • The time has come for a revitalized multilateral mentality to meet effectively and firmly the challenge of the new global and interconnected threats of resurgent nationalism and ethnic strife, international terrorism, illicit drug-trafficking, the smuggling of nuclear materials, the deliberate degradation of the global environment and poverty.
  • At this important juncture of history, our task is to develop and strengthen a genuinely worldwide constituency for the United Nations. We can do this only if we make every effort to involve the young generations, whose confidence must be won through a renewed philosophy of multilateral cooperation. I am confident that for generations to come the promotion and protection of multi-ethnicity, diversity, tolerance and respect for human dignity will be the major feature what is expected of the United Nations.
  • The lessons and tasks emerging from global conferences and from other areas of United Nations activity have a twofold nature. On the one hand, each of them, having its undisputed merits, appears to lend itself to universal collective action. On the other hand, taken in their totality, they require not only that we set our priorities but also a thorough efficiency probe and maybe a fuller use of the principle of subsidiarity as well.
  • Globalization, integration and interdependence can and should be important driving forces towards environmentally sound sustainable development. Regrettably, in our contemporary world we see only too often patterns of disintegration and the absence of the rule of law, accompanied by flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These constitute not only an affront to human dignity, but they have the adverse effect of hindering sustainable human development and most often bring about a fatal degradation of the environment as well.