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Conservative commentators on the EU and sovereignty

December 29th, 2014

A conservative columnist believes that Hungary has gained a unique opportunity to increase economic output through access to EU funds, while her sovereignty has also increased through EU membership. Another conservative analyst, however, accuses the European Commission of serving business interests rather than EU citizens.

Despite our political disputes with the EU, Hungary’s access to the structural funds is not in danger, Csaba Szajlai writes in Magyar Hírlap. In an assessment of Hungary’s ten-year membership of the EU, the conservative economist notes that development funds have provided a great opportunity to boost economic output. This year’s growth of over 3 per cent of GDP is partly the result of EU funds and investments from other EU member states, Szajlai adds. In a comment on the alleged weakening of national independence, Szajlai notes that as a full and equal member of the EU, Hungary has actually increased her sovereignty, since she now has the opportunity to be involved in all the decisions that concern her future. As a member of the club, Hungary has a chance to contribute to reforming the EU in accordance with her own national interests, Szajlai points out.

In vivid contrast in Magyar Nemzet, Anna Szabó accuses the European Commission of ignoring the democratic will of Europeans by failing to involve the European public in the discussions over the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The conservative analyst wonders why the European Commission prefers to broker a deal with the US behind the scenes, if the free trade agreement would indeed serve the interests of Europe. The deal would further push Europe in a pro-market direction, since it would further increase the influence of multinational corporations, as a result of the introduction of unitary market rules which would, consequently, weaken the sovereignty of national governments, Szabó believes. Commenting on  recent opinion polls which suggest that only 32 per cent of Europeans find the Commission a trustworthy institution, Szabó suggests that it is not at all surprising that the highest executive body of the Union is not trusted by EU citizens.

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