Make Europe Great Again:
Hungary’s EU presidency

Providing personal freedom, security and prosperity for the people is the duty of any political leadership. Free people in a prosperous and secure environment are what make a country or a region great. This is exactly what Hungary means with its motto “Make Europe Great Again.”

For the six months from July 1 onward, Hungary will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Central European country will set the agenda for the bloc’s priorities and chair meetings throughout this period.

Redressing Europe’s competitiveness on the global stage is precisely what the continent needs, and that is what Budapest says it seeks to achieve through the seven priorities of its presidency. The European integration process, the single market and overcoming enmities between European states are huge achievements. Nevertheless, the old continent finds itself in a spiral of decline that, to date, Brussels and member states have sought to remedy through technocratic regulation and increasing centralization. This needs to be stopped, as does the political and intellectual elite’s ideological self-praise of “European” values and its efforts to become the leading global regulator, as well as widespread general “Europessimism”.

Room for improvement

Hungary is not the most cherished member state in Brussels nor is it popular with a number of national governments. Some narrow-minded politicians have even proposed impeding the Budapest EU presidency, fearful that the Hungarian government would obstruct the integration process. Many people are criticizing the “Make Europe Great Again” motto because of its association with former United States President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, there is substantial room for improvement in Europe and knee-jerk reactions should not debase the motto’s meaning.


Redressing Europe’s competitiveness on the global stage is precisely what the continent needs.


Unfortunately, these critics too often ignore the important variety of nations and views on the continent and substitute healthy integration with frequently harmful one-size-fits-all harmonization and technocratic centralization. This, combined with dogmatic beliefs, leads to very unfortunate rules that are in fact “making Europe small,” such as the superficially well-intentioned but ultimately detrimental supply chain guidelinesAI regulation and renaturation law.

In contrast to the many self-important declarations that Europe has become used to, the Hungarian presidency appears quite hands-on, targeting essential issues to boost European competitiveness, address the continent’s declining security situation and tackle immigration. Control of external borders has to be strengthened and agreements with third countries reached.

Tackling important issues

Another important area on Budapest’s EU presidential agenda is agriculture policy, a pressing issue that has unfortunately lingered since the inception of the integration process and has lately been put on the back-burner. This crucial sector – once privileged in certain areas – is now confronting excessively growing bureaucratic burdens and harmful limitations. The political class in many countries, recruiting strongly from urban intellectuals, subsequently has a dwindling grasp of rural needs and concerns.

While premature praise is not warranted, we should, however, recognize that the Hungarian motto of restoring greatness – ensuring freedom, prosperity and security for the people of Europe through hands-on measures amid the old continent’s declining global significance – is more than justified.


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