Concerns grow at impact on EU of Hungarian Presidency

Press quote (EU Reporter)
03 July 2024

Concern is voiced by Zselyke Csaky, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, a leading think-tank. Csaky said, “The Hungarian presidency will have limited impact on EU policies – but the hit to the Union’s reputation could be significant. 

“The Council of the EU’s rotating presidency is often described as ‘responsibility without power’. Whichever member-state is at the helm drives the EU’s legislative agenda and represents the Council in negotiations with the EU’s other law-making institutions. 

“The presidency lacks hard powers, however, and given the complicated and consensual nature of EU decision-making, its priorities often get watered down or subsumed by crises and unexpected developments.

“The incoming Hungarian presidency is worrying.”

Csaky added, “Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s years-long, consistent policy of undermining EU unity on Ukraine and other issues prompted many to question whether Hungary should should take on the role. 

“The Hungarians will hold the presidency immediately after the EU elections and when key positions in the Commission are still being negotiated. This, and the technical nature of the presidency’s responsibilities, including planning and chairing meetings, will limit major policy-level damage. The main risks will be to day-to-day functioning and the EU’s reputation.”