July 6, 2011
Guest post from Dr. Gilbert Fayl, Prof. Rudolf Rezsóházy & Prof. Jenö Bangó (in their private capacities)
Following the apprehensive comments in the press about Hungary when it took over the EU council presidency, one should now take stock.
At the beginning of 2011, it seemed like one of the most important tasks of the Hungarian presidency would be the finalization of the economic governance reform package. This Herculean task was overshadowed by unforeseeable events: Japan was hit by one of the biggest earthquakes in modern history; all the while political earthquakes were taking place at the Union’s southern borders; and the crisis of the euro zone reared its ugly head.
Seen as an outside observer, the Hungarian presidency handled these crisis situations rather well. Yet, the biggest achievement may have been that the Hungarian presidency still managed to achieve the goals of its own agenda.
The end-June EU Summit made notable decisions on that agenda:
- The EU put the enlargement engine in gear again after a long period of hesitation. The European Council provided the political support to wrap-up the accession negotiations with Croatia;
- The approval of the first Roma Strategy in the EU’s history was another landmark decision by the European Council. It gives the Roma the opportunity to be recognized and productive citizens of the Union; and
- The elaboration and acceptance of the Danube Strategy that is particularly important for the Region as well as far beyond.
Hungary has indeed accomplished a lot under very difficult circumstances.
Brussels, 5 July 2011.
Dr. Gilbert Fayl
Prof. Rudolf Rezsóházy
Prof. Jenö Bangó