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Hungary’s 20 years within the European Union

May 2nd, 2024

Commentators try to assess the lessons of two decades of EU membership.

On the Mandiner website, Mátyás Kohán dismisses as groundless opposition-inspired accusations that the government intends to lead Hungary out of the European Union. EU membership has become irreversible, he writes, adding that being surrounded by Union member countries, with the rest of the region aspiring to join, it would be suicidal for Hungary to leave the European Union. Hungary is often unfairly treated by EU decision-makers, he suggests but adds that its representatives must learn to be smarter in negotiating and finding allies to get the treatment the country deserves.

On Telex, Fruzsina Előd and Ferenc Bakró-Nagy recall that 20 years ago most Hungarians hoped that as a member of the European Union the country would swiftly catch up with Austria. That didn’t materialise, nevertheless, 74% of Hungarians still see EU membership as having a positive impact on Hungary’s development. The authors produce 11 charts to show that Hungary has fared worse than its neighbours in terms of several economic indicators, including per capita consumption. Nevertheless, the happiness index of Hungarians has surpassed the European average and in that particular indicator, they write, Hungary might catch up with Austria in another 20 years’ time.