The European Union must restore trust in the bloc, Hungary’s justice minister told a conference on central Europe in Budapest. There can be no European integration without trust, Laszlo Trócsányi told the conference organised by the Nezopont Institute and the Wacław Felczak Foundation. After the European Parliament elections, the number one task before member states will be restarting dialogue free of prejudice, he added.
The minister said stakes were high in the elections, pointing out that the vote would decide the direction of European politics for the coming cycle. Trocsányi said it was important to elect leaders who are capable of recognising “the real problems” and providing adequate solutions to them.
Greeting Polish Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydło, Trocsányi said Hungary and Poland’s relationship had always been and would always be friendly. The minister underlined the importance of the two countries working together when it comes to the future of central Europe. He said support for EU membership in the region was “remarkably high”. Hungary and Poland both value their membership, Trocsányi said, adding, at the same time, that they were also aware of the problems with the functioning of EU institutions. He said the EU would only be able to fulfil its mission if it functioned as a community governed by the will of its member states where national independence is respected. The minister also emphasised the importance of regional cooperation.
Szydło talked about the importance of reforming the EU so that it could avoid crises and respond to new challenges. She said voters would get to decide if they want to see the EU continue to head towards closer integration, dealing with crisis situations based on the principles of equality and partnership, or the continuation of policies “that cause more and more disappointment to an increasing number of member states and voters”. The EU can operate only if there is consensus, Szydło said, calling for the community to define its common tasks, promote cohesion and prevent disintegration. She called sovereignty important, adding however that the sovereignty of the EU as a bloc should not be achieved by limiting the sovereignty of individual member states. Szydł expressed concern over a “democracy deficit” and protectionism Europe may face. Protectionism is a threat to “the core of European integration” to the effect that it will block the free movement of goods and capital, she said. It also gives cause for concern that there are attempts to “exclude” countries outside the euro zone from the EU’s banking and monetary unions, Szydło said, adding that this would create a divided European Union. “A two-speed Europe would certainly prevent that the bloc could become stronger,” she said.