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Hungary to opt between Germany and Britain

October 19th, 2011

Hungary will have to either side with France and Germany and opt for tightening cooperation between EU countries, or follow Great Britain in trying to broaden national competences within the Union, a left wing columnist suggests.

Népszabadság’s Miklós Blahó believes that the right wing Hungarian government cannot decide which side to choose, because both options seem controversial. It would seem a natural choice to follow Germany as Hungary’s single largest trade partner, but in that case the Hungarian government would have to follow the economic policy directives of a new central fiscal authority. That would fly in the face of Prime Minister Orbán’s oft expressed commitment to economic sovereignty. It might therefore seem logical instead to follow Britain’s lead in an effort to loosen financial policy bonds among the members of the European Union. Hungary has not made up her mind yet, but two groups are gradually emerging around the two major actors. The 17 countries of the Euro zone seem to be heading towards closer co-operation, while Britain is trying to build an alliance with some of the outsiders, including strong players like Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Poland.

The columnist rather daringly compares Hungary’s hesitations to those of the disastrous „see-saw policy” followed by the Hungarian government in 1943, when it tried to negotiate a separate peace with the Western allies, without directly confronting Hitler’s Germany. The end result was no peace, and German occupation in 1944.

Whilst he admits that current circumstances are totally different, Blahó warns nonetheless that “history teaches us that… see-saw policies are bound to end in a rough landing.”