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Juncker elected EC Chairman

July 17th, 2014
Left-wing commentators suggest that PM Orbán’s opposition to Mr Juncker’s candidacy was futile, while a leading Christian Democrat hopes that despite signs to the contrary, Juncker will choose the path of renewal and save the European Union.
In a front page editorial, Népszabadság admits that one could argue against having the former Luxembourgish Premier elected as Chairman of the European Commission, but describes as inadequate one explanation given by the Hungarian government, according to which former Luxembourgish EC Commissioner Viviane Reding systematically singled out Hungary for criticism. Népszabadság speculates that in case of any future possible conflicts with the European Commission, the Hungarian government might feel that their objections to Juncker’s candidacy were justified.
In Népszava, Mária Gál accuses the Hungarian Prime Minister of being a bad loser, because he failed to phone the new Chairman to congratulate him on his election by the European Parliament, unlike PM Cameron of the UK. (Mr Cameron also made a speech afterwards, in which he denounced the election procedure as reminiscent of Communism, because there was only a single candidate to vote for, while Mr Orbán met Mr Juncker in private in Brussels on Wednesday.) She pinpoints another argument put forward by the Hungarian side, namely that Mr Orbán opposed Juncker’s candidacy because that is what he had promised to his voters. No such promise was made, she says. (About the PM’s “anti-Juncker promise” see BudaPost, June 19).
In Magyar Hírlap, former MEP László Surján, deputy Chairman of the Christian Democratic Party (KDNP) recalls a third argument put forward by the Hungarian government against the Juncker candidacy: it was in violation of the Lisbon Treaty that the European Council was pressured into espousing the candidate of the European Parliament. Under the Treaty it should be the other was round: the nomination should have come from the Council, he argues. Nevertheless, Mr Surján grants the new Chariman the benefit of the doubt. The European Union is in deep crisis, he explains, and needs thorough reforms, while the rush towards more centralisation should be reversed. If Juncker continues to accommodate the wishes of all sides, as he has done in order to get elected, the Union “will continue to be reminiscent of the stalemates of the Brezhnev era, and will go down the drain of history, along with Juncker.” If, on the other hand, Surján concludes, Juncker embraces the necessary reforms, he might become “the saviour of the European Union”.


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