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Hungary will set the tone in the EU. How will Orban use it?

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Hungary is a country that is regularly at odds with everyone in Europe, in terms of its attitudes towards Russia, Ukraine, the rule of law and media freedom. Now Orbán's Hungary has a chance to set the tone in Europe. The Hungarian presidency of the European Union is starting.

The slogan of the Hungarian presidency itself is a provocation, perhaps even a joke. “Make Europe Great Again” is a direct reference to Donald Trump's famous slogan.

Further on, it is no longer extravagant. The presidency logo is a Rubik's cube with the flags of Hungary and the EU. In turn, the face of the Hungarian presidency has become a person from the third political row – the minister for European affairs.

– If our presidency is a success, it will give Hungary more room for political maneuver. Importantly, a successful Hungarian presidency will be a success for the whole of Europe – says János Bóka, Hungarian Minister for European Union Affairs.

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Europe has been anxiously preparing for this day for months. For half a year, the work of the Union will be directed by a country led by the most pro-EU and at the same time the most pro-Russian and pro-Chinese politician in Europe. The most far-reaching voices even called for Viktor Orbán to be stripped of his powerful tool of influence over the entire continent.

– The only long-term response to this autocrat is to disarm him by taking away his voting rights, freezing EU funds and canceling the Hungarian presidency – said Tineke Strik, an MEP from the Green faction, in the EP.

– I am asking for the suspension of the Hungarian presidency and the initiation of the Article 7 procedure in order to take away Orbán's veto power – appealed Damian Boeselager, MEP of the Greens.

What are Hungary's priorities for its presidency?

According to the definition, “the presidency directs work on EU legislation and ensures the continuity of the European Union's activities, the order of legislative procedures and the cooperation of the member states. It must therefore be an honest and impartial mediator.”

Potentially, Hungary could paralyze EU cooperation, which is why the leaders of the member states did everything they could to fill the most important positions in the Union before Orban's arrival. The outgoing Belgian presidency at the last minute brought about the adoption of a new package of sanctions against Russia and formally began accession talks with Ukraine.

Hungary promises to be an “honest broker”. Among the priorities of its presidency are improving the competitiveness of the European Union and stopping uncontrolled immigration.

Hungary is still “hanging” under the EU's Article 7 procedure, which could lead to the suspension of some member state rights.

– The Article 7 procedure has become a political issue in the European Parliament election campaign and a tool for political pressure on Hungary to adopt specific solutions, says János Bóka.

Any mess left by Orbán will be cleaned up by Poland, because our country will take over the EU presidency in January.

“We are entering a new era of European politics”

The Hungarian prime minister will want to use the next six months to build his own political base in Brussels. On June 30, Orban announced that his Fidesz party would form a new faction in the European Parliament, together with the ANO party of former Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš and the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ).

– Today is a historic day because we are entering a new era of European politics, an era of freedom, an era of sovereignty, peace, prosperity and values, says Herbert Kickl, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party.

To form a faction in the European Parliament, you need parties from at least seven member states, so Orban and company still need support from at least four other countries. Informal talks are underway with Law and Justice, among others.

READ ALSO: Orban Announces New Alliance in Europe: “This is the Day the Renewal of European Politics Began”

Orban announces new alliance in EuropeReuters

– From this moment on, from this impulse, this starting signal today, all political forces that want to join our reform efforts will be welcome. And from what I have heard over the last few days, there will be more of these forces than some of you imagine – says Herbert Kickl.

Political factions in Brussels should form in the coming days. The first session of the new European Parliament – July 16. It is possible that instead of the announced one large group of Eurosceptics, three smaller ones will be formed.

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

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