July 23. 2024. 12:58

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Hungary vows to ‘make Europe great again’ with EU presidency

Hungary on Tuesday (18 June) vowed to “make Europe great again” during its EU presidency starting next month, a take on former US president Donald Trump’s famous campaign slogan.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last met his “good friend” Trump in March in the United States and has frequently expressed hope for the Republican to return to power in presidential elections in November.

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The central European country of 9.6 million people — which has regularly clashed with Brussels over rule-of-law and other issues — takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union on 1 July.

“Our motto refers to an active, hands-on presidency, an expectation that we are stronger together than we are apart, and that together we can all remain who we are,” Hungarian EU Affairs Minister Janos Boka said during a press conference to announce the country’s programmes and goals during the EU presidency.

Responding to a question by a journalist, he downplayed the connection with Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” (MAGA).

“I am not aware that Donald Trump has ever wanted to make Europe great,” Boka joked.

Hungary named seven priorities for its EU presidency, including improving the bloc’s competitiveness and stemming undocumented migration.

Several member states have expressed concern about Budapest taking on the EU presidency.

Last year, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution highlighting Hungary’s “backsliding” on democratic values, and questioning how it could “credibly” assume the bloc’s presidency.

Orbán — Moscow’s closest EU ally despite its invasion of Ukraine — has refused to supply arms to Kyiv and slammed EU sanctions against Russia.

Hungary previously held the EU presidency in 2011, the year after Orbán returned to power.

Since then, Hungary has found itself subject to several infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission.

Brussels has also frozen billions of euros in funds earmarked for Hungary until it can prove reforms have been taken to ensure the independence of judges, LGBTQ rights and the independence of academics.

Read more with Euractiv

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