Compromising Principles

The Deal On the MFF Displayed the EU's Fractured State

27 December 2020

Viktor Orbán’s offensive using the two “illiberal democracies” of Central Europe was a success, as the German Presidency, and Chancellor Angela Merkel herself, clearly gave way in order to reach the compromise.

The European Union is a highly complex organism, built on two different philosophies: intergovernmentalism, represented by the Council, and supranationalism, represented by the Commission and Parliament. Therefore, federalist and confederationist tendencies are constantly clashing and both invoke a Europe of (sovereign) homelands.

This dispute has come to light in all its glory in the face of the threat of a Polish-Hungarian veto, which has been making noise for months, and especially in recent weeks. The solution, i.e. the compromise adopted at the summit on 10 December, will be – and already is – interpreted in various ways. Formally, everyone will declare themselves the winners, as the budget and financial aid will be delivered and we, the citizens, will continue to enjoy the benefits of EU membership.

Berlin’s approval

In fact, however, things got rather serious, as the initiator of the recent turmoil, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who skilfully used his ideological brothers in Warsaw to significantly strengthen his individually weak voice, can declare himself a true winner.

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Bogdan Góralczyk

Bogdan J. Góralczyk is Professor and Director of the Centre for Europe, University of Warsaw, a political scientist and sinologist and an expert on Hungary, where he served as a senior diplomat in the years 1991–98 (afterwards a book was published both in Poland and Hungary). His recent book "Hungarian Syndrome: Trianon" has been published on round anniversary of the treaty

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