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Disagreements have their place in the EU reform process

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Council President Charles Michel in Berlin (LR)

On Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited Berlin, where Charles Michel, President of the European Council, held a consultation on the European Union’s strategic agenda with the leaders of several EU Member States. EU.

On Monday evening, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz organized a working dinner in Berlin, at the suggestion of the President of the European Council. Following the European Political Community summit in early October, the President asked European leaders to continue discussions on the future of the EU in small groups in European capitals.

Viktor Orbán was part of a “small group” with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, reports Mandine. This combination is not a coincidence, because

the Hungarian Prime Minister was joined by Belgians, Greeks and Cypriots in trying to reduce some sanctions against Russia for various reasons,

and Lithuania’s Christian Democratic government has also sometimes distinguished itself from the European mainstream.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Alexander De Croo, Nikos Christodoulidis, Charles Michel, Olaf Scholz, Gitanas Nausėda, Viktor Orbán, Karl Nehammer and Thérése Blanchet, the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union (LR). Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

For Austria, the issue of the meeting is “a paradigm shift in the field of migration”, Austrian Chancellery announced in advance. The Chancellor stressed that the European asylum system is “broken” and that we cannot afford to lose control of it, as the protection of external borders is a security issue for the whole EU . This is why he proposes that the EU works with third countries to ensure that illegal migrants do not leave for Europe.

Karl Nehammer also set a clear direction for European enlargement policy. He said “an honest approach to enlargement is needed, with all potential candidates treated equally”. Referring to Ukraine, he said “there should not be a fast-track procedure for certain candidates.” He also indicated Austria’s support for the accession of Western Balkan countries, saying that “the EU enlargement process is a major incentive for reform and stability of exports to our neighborhood.” This is why we are and will remain supporters of the prospect of the Western Balkans joining the EU.”

These positions are identical to those of the Hungarian government on migration, competitiveness and enlargement policy.

Next year there will be a “leadership change” in Europe: elections to the European Parliament will take place this summer, a new European Commission will be formed by the member states – under the Hungarian Presidency of the Council – and planning for the Le seven-year budget after 2027 will also begin. Many questions therefore arise about the extent of European integration and whether and how the European Union should be enlarged.

Back review, quoting According to the Chancellery, “the aim is not only to bring together EU heads of government who already share the same points of view.” This was not just a reference to Viktor Orbán: the group that met yesterday in Berlin has different ideas from the mainstream on the future of Europe, for various reasons. It is a reassuring sign that

Europe’s major powers are now seeking to channel different opinions into the EU reform process, rather than isolating the minority.

“The discussions are expected to clarify how the 27 EU governments see European policy priorities in the coming years, how enlargement would affect development policy and the relationship between net contributors and net beneficiaries of l EU. In the meantime, it is important to talk not only about EU spending but also about EU revenues, Back », he writes, referring to the idea of ​​a possible common European tax.

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Via Mandiner, Featured image: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

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