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Hungary in permanent conflict with Brussels

May 12th, 2017

An anti-government author cautions against going too far in criticising Brussels and warns that the government might regret its antiBrussels campaign if, as a result, EU membership were to become the stake at next year’s election.

In his Magyar Nemzet editorial, Szabolcs Szerető describes the by now continuous standoff between the Hungarian government and the European Commission as the result of a series of conflicts. Mr Orbán started out as a prointegration politician and was first at odds with Brussels when in 2010 President Barroso refused to give him the elbow room he wanted to redress the shaky financial position he inherited from the previous left-liberal government. One conflict sparked another, until the government ended up openly campaigning against Brussels. The European project has not been a success story, Szerető continues, for Hungarians have sadly discovered that they are not getting any nearer to the core member countries in terms of living standards. Nevertheless, they are still largely in favour of EU membership, and if the opposition managed to frame next year’s election as a referendum about quitting the EU, the government could face a bitter defeat. However, Szerető doesn’t deem ‘Hunxit’ a real possibility. What he fears is Hungary being relegated to a peripheral position within the European Union.


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