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PM Orbán’s post-2019 EU agenda

August 1st, 2017

One week after the Prime Minister said Hungary and her East European allies will have a crucial job to accomplish within the European Union after Brexit, two leading analysts express diametrically opposing views on Hungary’ future within the EU.

In Magyar Nemzet, left-wing philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás accuses the government of conducting a senseless struggle against Brussels. Western Europe, he argues, has become disenchanted with Eastern Europe and regrets ever having included the region in the European Union. The leading West European countries have not yet taken the political decisions ensuing from those feelings, ‘but their positive interest towards us belongs to the past’, Tamás suggests. As seen from the West, Eastern Europe has always been anti-democratic, uncivilized and poor. The Marxist philosopher laments that the East Europeans are not inclined to change that and draws the conclusion that ‘we have been left on our own’.

In Magyar Idők, Ágoston Sámuel Mráz thinks on the other hand that Mr. Orbán is right in seeing new tasks ahead for Hungary within the European Union after 2019. (The Prime Minister briefly spoke about this in answer to a question from the audience after his speech in Baia Tusnad in July. See BudaPost, July 25.) Britain will have left the Union by then and Mr. Juncker, the current President of the European Commission, will have retired. Eastern European countries may play an important role in choosing his successor and thereby in shaping the future role of the Commission, the pro-government analyst hopes. He sees Mr. Orbán as the heir of the policies of late President Charles de Gaulle of France and the recently deceased former Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany who were both champions of ‘a Europe built on many patriotisms’, as de Gaulle once said. On that basis, Mráz suggests, Mr. Orbán is already an important player in Europe with his idea that European countries should take back some of the competences the European Commission has ‘stealthily appropriated over the years’, and that the Commission should return to its original role as guardian of European rules, ‘rather than stoking ideological disputes’.

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