Just over 50 years ago, Hungary fought back against a bloody invasion by the Soviet Army. Just over 20 years ago, it hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall, granting East German refugees free passage to West Germany.
Now, Hungary marks another achievement in its transformation from a communist satellite to democratic republic as it assumes the presidency of the European Union on January 1, for the first time since joining the bloc in 2004.
Speaking recently in Budapest following a meeting with EU officials, Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, said a key priority for his country's presidency would be enlargement, which he said had given countries like his own the motivation to get their domestic affairs in order.
"We would like to return the impetus for EU enlargement," Orban said. "Enlargement will help solve the internal affairs [of new members], because those who enlarge, grow, and extend themselves believe in their future prospects. And what the European Union really needs today is to believe strongly in its own prospects."