On the behaviour of the Hungarian Government and the Deepening of the European Integration

Declaration of the Hungarian Europe Society on the behaviour of the Hungarian government and the deepening of the European integration

The Hungarian Europe Society welcomes the agreement of the European Council on December 8-9, 2011. We consider that an immediate easing of the European debt and credit crisis as well as the financial technical measures and long-term reforms are equally important. Therefore we appreciate the efforts taken by the French-German led European political elite to solve the crisis.

It is encouraging that the new agreement avoids the formal division of the Member States of the European Union into different circles according to being a member of the Eurozone and being out of it, thanks also to the firm position of the Central and Eastern European countries and the euro-friendly attitude of the Polish government. In this situation the confused behaviour of the Hungarian Prime Minister has been particularly startling and incomprehensible. His first „no”, which was followed by a „perhaps” under the cover of the the Hungarian Parliament’s decision suggests the nightmare of a real second- or third-rate membership. The strengthening eurosceptism and hesitation of Viktor Orbán makes us extremely worried about the direction in which he and his two-third parliamentary majority wishes to lead Hungary: whether towards a close cooperation with the other Member States or, on the contrary, to isolation and the periphery of the continent.

The euro has become the most concrete symbol of the idea of a united Europe. It is in the interest of us all that the single European currency becomes a stable one in as many Member States of the EU as possible, thus soon in Hungary as well, and for it to remain a strong currency worldwide. For this the European economic governance must be reinforced,  rationality of national economic policies must be guaranteed and controlled, economic growth and improvement of competitiveness both in and outside the Eurozone must be ensured. We agree that Member States that wish to participate in a closer political and economic integration should not be hindered in going forward by a few hesitating, eurosceptic countries. As such, we greatly regret the British Prime Minister’s isolationist policy in Brussels last week.

The intergovernmental conference on the new treaty nevertheless constitutes a great chance for a European renewal. The reinforcement of European level economic cooperation, budgetary discipline and monetary policy may result not in the weakening but in the extension of democratic European decision-making. Intergovernmental bargaining is not yet equal to European governance! Institutional reforms are acceptable only if they, by strengthening the role of the European Commission and the European Parliament, ensure the survival of the all-European approach on the one hand, and make the active involvement of European citizens possible on the other. Moreover, the pressures of the crisis could become an opportunity to implement old reform plans, like replacing Member States’ contributions to the common EU-budget by own resources, and speeding up the European election reforms in order to make party competition more visible for European citizens.

We still believe that Hungary will not stay outside of the common efforts to renew Europe, and the Hungarian Parliament will authorize the government to take part in the negotiations of the new treaty.

Budapest, 10 December 2011

18 members voted in favour of the declaration, 22 persons abstained from voting and 9 members voted against it.