‘Make Europe Great Again’ is strapline for Hungarian Presidency

‘Make Europe Great Again’ is strapline for Hungarian Presidency
Опубликовано: Wednesday, 19 June 2024 16:19

Hungary is having some fun with the first clues about how it will approach its Presidency of the Council of the EU, which will run from July to December 2024. First came the logo, a Rubik’s Cube -a simple tribute to a great Hungarian or a sign of the frustration that awaits other member states? Now we have the strapline ‘Make Europe Great Again’, arguably an ambition every European country should share but again offering great potential for over analysis, writes Political Editor Nick Powell.

The echo of Donald Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ is of course impossible to miss though Hungary’s Minister for Europe, János Bóka, dismissed that thought, saying “I don’t know if Donald Trump ever wanted to make Europe great again”. And wherever the idea came from, it’s quite a good slogan as Frank Furedi, the Budapest-born Executive Director of the think tank MCC Brussels, argued.

"Many commentators reacted with bemusement when Hungary unveiled ‘Make Europe Great Again’ as the strapline for its upcoming six-month presidency of the Council of the EU, he said. “Some have gone so far as to suggest that there is something wrong about coupling Europe with the idea of greatness.

“Yet Viktor Orbán’s slogan of MEGA draws attention to the regrettable decline of Europe in recent decades. The European economy has lost much of its competitive edge. In terms of technology, it is in a state of continual catch-up to the United States and China. European Culture – once one of the most inspiring and dynamic in the world – has come under the influence of second-rate California values. In terms of geo-politics, Europe has been assigned the role of a service provider to an American dominated NATO.

“Worst of all is a mood of exhaustion that prevails among the Western European Elites. They exude a sense of low expectation and loss of ambition. Their outlook is a resigned to living in a Europe that is insignificant and is merely making time. Challenging the Little Europe outlook that dominates the institutions of the EU is an absolutely essential. This is why MEGA is not simply a slogan but an absolutely relevant cultural outlook for our time”.

So, what can we actually expect from the Hungarian Presidency? János Bóka promised “an active presidency”, inspired by a slogan designed to create an expectation “that together we should be stronger than individually but that we should be allowed to remain who we are when we come together”.

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He said that Hungary wants to secure a new “farmer-centred” agriculture deal, “more efficient protection of the external borders, to manage root causes of migration” and on EU enlargement, “substantial steps with regards to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine”, despite fears that Ukraine in particular would see little progress achieved on Budapest’s watch.

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