“There is nothing new under the sun – we already knew that Verhofstadt represents this position,” said Milán Pálfalvi, analyst at Nézőpont Intézet, to our paper regarding Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt. The latest idea from the Member of the European Parliament is to withdraw more and more funds each time Hungary uses the power of veto. Pálfalvi said that just as Verhofstadt believes the sovereignty of the European Union is not for sale, we also think that Hungary’s sovereignty cannot be negotiated.
“Hungary has to focus on Hungarian interests, just as Verhofstadt focuses on his own political interests,”
– said Milán Pálfalvi. The analyst believes that though this could be accepted on the political level however, these funds are due to Hungary. “Therefore, any form of withdrawing money is inconceivable as these funds are due to Hungary… If they use these funds for blackmail, that crosses a certain border that is not permissible in the EU system,” pointed out the analyst.
Milán Pálfalvi also explained that the European Union represents economic cooperation, thus a solution can only be found through cooperating.
“Hungary does not consider it a veto if on certain issues we represent a differing opinion – even if we are the only ones – since we have a right to do so,”
– highlighted the analyst. “Hungary does not use its veto for blackmailing; after all, in this situation it is not a veto at hand but rather simply expressing a different opinion. Hungary recommends a different solution which all other countries with a right to vote can consider. They made a decision just as we made our own decision,” stated the analyst.
According to Milán Pálfalvi, the European Commission will not follow Verhofstadt’s direction and political decision-makers will not all conform to the initiative. However, at the same time, the EU is attempting to apply every form of political pressure possible to change Hungary’s opinion.
“A clear cooperation process has begun within which Hungary has satisfied 17 expectations, so I think Hungary has every chance for a decision in its favor. Hungary has approached these negotiations ready for compromise; meanwhile, Verhofstadt’s extremist opinions have already proven themselves before,”
– concluded the analyst.
Politicians confusing their roles
“Veteran politicians of the European Parliament and the former Belgian prime minister are also regularly confusing their roles, using political pressure and blackmail over Member States,” said the director of European Union research at the Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ).
According to Attila Kovács, Verhofstadt’s message is not necessarily for Hungary but rather the European Commission which should be publicizing its position on the status of the conditionality and rule of law procedure as well as the Hungarian recovery plan shortly.
The director of research equates the Belgian politician’s words with a timely parliamentary speech. Attila Kovács believes that the European Parliament has smelled blood and is putting pressure on the Commission through remarkable statements just because Hungarian government policy focuses on Hungarian interests, even if, on this occasion, 26 other countries oppose it.
“The mystification of the right of veto is new in Brussels politics – this right has always existed and Member States have always enjoyed using it,”
– pointed out the research director. He added that one of the foundations of European politics is consensus – though there are efforts to change this – as was one of the conclusions of the conference on the future of Europe.
He also believes it is a complete misrepresentation to connect European Union funds and the funds due to us. The essence of the Commission’s pressure on the EP is that if our country does not fall in line, it will be punished with the withdrawal of funds. The financial interests of the European Union must be defended but the right of veto is also a right enshrined in the basic treaty that the member states can use.
“Combining the two is a dangerous precedent, even at the level of political communication,”
– highlighted Attila Kovács.
Verhofstadt’s words cannot have any legal consequences, his political message is to break the Hungarian government and put pressure on the Commission, concluded the research director.
Photo: Guy Verhofstadt (Photo: AFP/Nicolas Maeterlinck)