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Hungary’s 2021/22 V4 Presidency: “Recharging Europe” by Enikő Bagoly

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Hungary’s 2021/22 V4 Presidency: “Recharging Europe”

On June 30 2021, Hungary started its rotating V4 Presidency for the sixth time—following the handover from Poland—over the 30-year history of the Group.

During the recent Polish Presidency, the main priority was to shape the EU budget framework for 2021-2027 favourable for the countries of the region. In addition to the engagement to the V4’s advocacy in the EU budget negotiations, the Polish Presidency has focused on a multilateral approach to pandemic management, digitalization and infrastructural development. [1]

Based on the first commitments of the Hungarian Presidency, its notions are in coherence with the “back on track” approach of the Polish Presidency Programme. Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán has emphasized that after overcoming the epidemic, the V4 countries must restart their economies as soon as possible, which can be achieved through investments and tax cuts. Besides, he also stressed the need for continuing the development of the North-South road and rail network, the fight against illegal migration—having a much greater priority in the context of a pandemic—and an increased cooperation in the field of security issues among the V4s.

According to Hungary’s viewpoint, due to the changing status quo in world politics, it is essential to strengthen economic relations with the Eastern major powers as well, and due to the stability of the CEE region, the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkan countries must be supported and accelerated.

The first few weeks of the upcoming Hungarian presidency proved to be active

Among the first major events of the Hungarian presidency was the meeting of Defence Policy Directors (DPD) on 8-9 July 2021 in Budapest,[2] where the Hungarian presidency’s defence priorities were announced. Regarding the future development directions, Hungary called for the deepening of military cooperation by strengthening the V4 “trademark” through the development of defence policy and military-to-military cooperation.[3] Besides, Hungary stands for extending the V4 defence cooperation to new areas by involving the segment of social and cultural relations.[4] The aim of strengthening the V4 identity also appeared at the first informal meeting of the V4 Speakers of the Parliament, held on 15-16 July 2021, with the agenda of protecting the V4 countries’ cultural heritage and the theme of Central European identity.[5]

According to the Joint Statement of the V4 Prime Ministers, issued on 7 July, the Hungarian presidency considers the debate on the future of Europe as a priority, in which the Visegrad countries can play a key role as their population of 64 million makes the Group an unavoidable actor in the post-Brexit European Union.[6] Besides, the newly adopted Declaration expresses the V4s committed support of the Western Balkans in the process of European integration and in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy, also their strive for strengthening V4+ partnerships. Furthermore, for the upcoming year the Group members agreed to close cooperation in the field of global challenges, such as climate change, digital transformation and migration, which ensures and contributes to strengthening and recharging the security and stability not only for the V4, but also for the European Union as well.[7]

Enikő Bagoly, Danube Institute research fellow

[1] Back on Track. Programme of the Polish Presidency 2020/21. (20.07.2021)

[2] Official Twitter account of the V4 Presidency. (20.07.2021)

[3] Ministry of Defence Hungary: Hungarian V4 presidency starts with V4 defence policy directors’ meeting. 12.07.2021., (20.07.2021)

[4] Ministry of Defence Hungary: Hungarian V4 presidency starts with V4 defence policy directors’ meeting. 12.07.2021., (20.07.2021)

[5] Visegrad Group cultural values are our strength: lower house speaker. In: PolandIn, 16.17.2021., (20.07.2021)

[6] Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group on 9 July 2021. (20.07.2021)

[7] Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group on 9 July 2021.

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