Hungary should make up its mind whether it wants to stay in the EU or not

Portfolio
"Hungary should now clearly position itself. It should either play in a team or it has to make a decision to leave the European Union," said Johann Wadephul, deputy faction leader of Germany's governing party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), on public television on Sunday evening.
Johann Wadephul magyarorszag unios tagsag1500

Wadephul was critical of Hungary in respect of the country's stance on Turkey attacking Kurds in Syria, Hungarian news portal index.hu reported on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a military offenive against Kurds in northern Syria in mid-October, which caused tensions not only between the United States and turkey, but also between the EU and Turkey. 

The EU was preparing to adopt a resolution in which it wanted to warn Ankara that a Syrian operation could launch another wave of refugees. Hungary was the only member who issued a veto on the draft text. Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed that the Hungarian side had not vetoed the joint resolution but only blocked it. He added they had only agreed, in the end, for the document to be released as a statement by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs. That carries smaller weight, of course, than the original resolution would have. 

CDU's deputy faction leader Johann Wadephul said this blocking behaviour was obvious all along, and added:

Hungary needs to learn how to work in a team. Hungary needs to decide if it wants to be a real member of the EU, and that it does not only want the EU's financial support, and if wants to contribute making the EU strong.

That was when Wadephul said one of the harshest criticisms regarding Hungary on ZDF on Sunday evening.

In February this year, Hungary’s hardline government was the only European Union member state that disrupted preparations for the first summit between the bloc and the League of Arab States (LAS) to take place later this month. The Hungarian ambassador received unprecedentedly sharp criticism from Germany’s ambassador, according to the minutes of 1 February Council meeting. The ambassador threated that the roadblock put up by Budapest will not be forgotten when it comes to linking rule of law conditions to post-2020 EU budgets, i.e. the nature of the threat was financial in nature.

Making the disbursement of EU funds conditional to rule of law requirements is becoming a reality. And it is also a real threat that Hungary could lose more than 24% of cohesion and agricultural funds in the 2021-2027 programming period. But it is the first time one of the senior officials of Germany's governing party raises the possibility of Hungary's explusion from the EU or at least urges the country to consider exiting the bloc if it does not want to adhere to its laws.

Cover photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

This article is part of the work programme titled "The impacts of EU cohesion policy in Hungary - Present and Future" which is carried out by Net Média Zrt., the publisher of Portfolio.hu, between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020 with European Union financing. The views in this article solely reflect the opinions of the author. The European Commission as the funding entity does not take any responsibility for the use of information presented in this article.

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