Suspend Hungary’s EU presidency?
Hungary is due to take over the EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2024. However in a non-binding resolution, more than two-thirds of MEPs in the EU Parliament voted to call on member states not to allow the country to hold the rotating presidency due to deficits regarding the rule of law and non-compliance with European values. The move has sparked a lively debate in the press.
Prevent presidential undermining
Aktuality.sk backs the decision:
“Hungary has already announced that during its presidency it wants to convince other countries that the ‘Hungarian way’ is the right way. So it can be assumed that Budapest wants to spend six months undermining European values and cooperation with Ukraine from the position of the presidency state. This could jeopardise the cohesion within the EU. The bloc must therefore develop a mechanism to prevent a state that disagrees with its leadership on matters of values from taking over the presidency of the Council of the EU.”
Challenge, don’t boycott
The Süddeutsche Zeitung does not think it would be a good idea to deprive Hungary of the Council Presidency:
“For one thing, there is no serious legal basis for such a step. For another, it would lead to a political dead end. How much willingness to cooperate can one expect from Orbán for the rest of the millennium if he is duped in this way? ... That doesn’t mean that the EU has to put up with every insult and every lie from Viktor Orbán. His colleagues could occasionally muster a little more courage to challenge him, also publicly. But there is no reason to panic about Hungary’s presidency. Europe will not collapse because of it.”
EU legislature neither competent nor credible
The pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet argues that the European Parliament has little authority when it comes to values:
“First of all it is none of the Parliament’s business who happens to hold the presidency of the EU Council at any given time. But quite apart from that, let us not forget that one member of this distinguished Parliament is the [non-affiliated Belgian MEP] Marc Tarabella, who was recently released under electronic surveillance and is accused of having accepted at least [120,000 euros] to make Qatar look better in the European Parliament, which he did. And he, too, voted against us.”