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CEPSR - Nr. 39

CEPSR Nr. 39
Europa Varietas Institute : From the Slovenian Presidency to the Polish Presidency – The challenges of the Hungarian Presidency
Edited by Dr. András István Türke Ph.D, EuVI Analyses Nr. 8 - 22 September 2010.,
Authors : Anikó Bródy; Zsolt Horbulák; Torbicka Kinga; Dr. András István Türke Ph.D; Dr. Hortenzia Hosszú Ph.D; dr. Dávid Pusztai; Katalin Velich

The government crisis in Belgium is still unsolved thus it is feared that the Belgian Presidency might be recorded as the Czech “lame duck” in the EU history, as Europa Varietas Institute recently emphasise. According to the source, it concludes that the Hungarian Presidency will gain a sort of rescue role, the source continues, besides the two-third parliamentary majority; Hungary could count on the international increment of the action showing unity.
This recent study of the Europa Varietas Institute is quite pessimistic about a predictable Czech kind of outcome for the Belgian Presidency. The Institute expert on foreign affairs has been observing the EU Council presidency periods based on half year-rotation since 2008. Moreover the study explains a probable conclusion that during the Belgian leadership, the EU will switch to autopilot-mode such as it did during the Czech Presidency.
‘(...) this most recent trio-system forced the member states to commence the negotiations on the common objectives in time. Furthermore, the number of the dossiers inherited from previous presidential periods and eligible from other previous trios (Lisbon Treaty, climate and energy policy) is considered to be significant. Therefore the Hungarian Presidency can be forced to take the rescue role if the Belgian Presidency will not be able to fulfil its assigned tasks from the dossiers, concludes the source.

Only solid government can treat inherited tasks
In the edition published by the President of EUVI, Dr. András István Türke, he emphasises that besides the present, two-third parliamentary majority during the period of the Hungarian Presidency, there is no need to be concerned about political uncertainty and to depend on a Czech- or Belgian-type of setback. Reflecting on the priorities, the study explores that the Belgian objectives coincide with the EU agenda and except for the area of the community sponsorship, these goals are nor even sharp against the Hungarian objectives.
The study affirms that the preparatory procedure is quite satisfying therefore Hungary is not doomed for the takeover of the Belgian issues. The authors recall that the research on the intensity and the different levelled process of the preparatory procedure is quite complex and above a certain level it is a hopeless task albeit, based on the Swedish model ‘Hungary is in the same phase and as well progressing well such as other previous example member states’. As Sweden, such as Hungary, had initiated the preparatory procedures two years before its Presidency period but showed concrete priorities and programme much later.

Difficult to come up with national affairs on EU-level
EUVI highlights on the fact of considerable differences between the presidencies led by small or large member states. The small state presidencies tend to be more cost-saving than a large member state although the large states are good lobbyist. Bringing up with the example of France in the second part of 2008, it resulted difficult to introduce national interests in an EU-level. ‘Beyond the national French interests, they had obstacles with the national interests of other presidential states’, e.g. the negation of the Turkish accession and the deceleration of EU-integration or mentioning the relations with the ECB in order to apply the protectionism as means for handling the economic world crisis, adds the source.

High time for packages
The success of the preparatory procedure also depends whether we are conscious about the objectives, priorities of a priory EU-presidency, about the upcoming objectives and plans of our EU-period or how we can take advantage from the best practice, secrets of the success of previous presidencies or to study from their failures. ‘Beyond representing the supranational, usual EU-goals, we have to make reconciliations, package deals and negotiate such as balance well amongst the zero-sum pursuits of the member states acknowledging well the weak-points, national interests and short-, long-term goals of them’, alleges the source.

Small state as an advantage
On the basis of the study on the Slavonic, French, Czech, Swedish, Spanish and Belgian EU-Presidencies, the EUVI is suggesting to the Hungarian Presidency that it should make use of being a small state. It should utilise other member states will not be suspicious that behind the Hungarian steps there are great-power goal interests. Authors add that the reinforcement of the Visegrad Cooperation is critical with such a bridge-role that establishes a continuity between the Czech, Hungarian and Polish presidencies and by this it sets up the presidential image of the member states. The study highlights that a policy focused on such collaboration, can implement national kind of goals as well.
‘(...) Those traditionally Hungarian issues e.g. the question of the minority policy, well-wrapped could raise attention in the EU. The natural consequences of the economic recession is the strengthening of inner conflicts which stimulates the expanding and strengthening of conflict zones without long-term solution within the EU it can conceal serious threat towards the EU integration.’