As the European Parliament returns for its first plenary session, a conservative columnist argues that further centralization would entrench the problems of the EU and increase its democratic deficit. A liberal commentator, on the other hand, believes that the success of European countries depends on further integration.
“Europe can reinvent itself only through strengthening national sovereignty rather than further bureaucratic centralization,” Magyar Hírlap’s Gyula T. Máté contends. The conservative columnist believes that the EU is not effective in resolving social and economic problems. The European Union is already hamstrung by red tape, and further integration would increase obtrusive bureaucracy, Máté suggests. As well as the lack of efficiency, the EU suffers from democratic deficit as well, he writes. The leaders of the EU, including the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament are elected in a bargaining process between parties and national governments rather than through democratic popular vote, and thus they have little democratic legitimacy. As a result, the EU serves more as a lobbying instrument for national governments than a proper pan-European decision making body, Máté suggests. Those who voted against the pro-federal Jean-Claude Juncker’s nomination as President of the European Commission, including Hungarian PM Orbán and British PM Cameron, (see BudaPost June 30) did so because the further centralization of the Union lacks popular support.
In Heti Világgazdaság, Miklós Tallián believes that the federalization of the EU is indispensable for the well-being of European countries. The liberal pundit dismisses fears that integration equals creeping “colonization” by Germany. European economic cooperation can become more effective through further integration and standardization, he suggests. No nation state could be as successful in the global markets as a strong and well-integrated European Union, Tallián maintains. He welcomes the election of pro-federal Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. In an aside, he claims that those who advocate more national sovereignty in the name of protecting national interests are partisan lobby groups which actually want to protect inefficient and corrupt companies. Tallián finds worries related to cultural homogenization groundless too. “The EU does not want to and cannot overwrite cultural affiliations.”