From Front-runner’s "EUphoria" to Backmarker’s "Pragmatic Adhocism"?

Hungary’s Ten Years within the European Union in a Visegrad Comparison

11/05/2014 | by Dániel Hegedüs

DGAPanalyse 7, May 10, 2014, 32 pp.

Category: European Union, Hungary

Whether Hungary again becomes a front-runner in the European development process or remains a partially isolated backmarker hinges mainly on the direction taken in the broader European development. Nevertheless the country is currently establishing an alternative political model within European integration.

The paper aims to give a brief but comprehensive summary of the internal and external dimensions of Hungary’s EU membership and integration policy. It will outline and analyze the development paths and future perspectives in the fields of European and foreign policy, home affairs, and economics. Whether Hungary again becomes a front-runner in the European development process or remains a partially isolated backmarker hinges mainly on the direction taken in the broader European development. Nevertheless the country is currently establishing an alternative political model within European integration. It is still not clear whether this development conforms with basic European standards and represents a renaissance of the “Europe of Nations” concept or whether it steps over these common rules and goes in the direction of a political and economic “third way” model. If one focuses on Hungarian foreign policy, the option of a “Europe of Nations” is more likely; if one focuses on internal developments, then the “third way” model seems more likely. However, the country’s European policy has since 2010 definitely turned in a very pragmatic direction compared to the “EUphoric” phase of former years. Hungary accepts the fact of a “multi-speed integration” and takes different pragmatic positions on very different policy issues, taking into consideration first and foremost an ad hoc interpretation of national interest rather than a comprehensive integration strategy.

 
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