The first half of Hungary’s time in the spotlight of EU politics has passed. It was marred by squabbles over the media law and the ongoing debate about the constitution – in other words domestic issues that ideally should not have dominated coverage about Hungary at a time when it seeks to influence the progress and direction of European public policy. Despite the politically debilitating effect of the prime minister’s combative rhetoric, the bureaucratic aspect of the presidency appears to be functioning all right. Too bad we won’t be able to reap its benefits.
If someone had just observed the nitty-gritty details of policy work coordinated by the Hungarian presidency and completely ignored the news, that person might have gained the impression that things are going splendidly. If on the other hand one would have done the reverse, that is she had only watched the news but ignored the minutiae of Brussels policy-making – and unfortunately for Hungary that is the realistic and more frequent scenario – then one’s impression of the Hungarian EU presidency would be that it’s a disaster, full of superfluous confrontations and unprovoked Hungarian verbal attacks against the EU.
Policy Solutions' analysis on the first three months of Hungary's EU Presidency can be downloaded from here.
Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research.
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