Hungary’s accession to the European Union raises several questions: is the EU is capable of managing its renewal with the aim of being more compelling to member states and citizens while relying on its traditions, and is it able to transmit the values that gave reason to its establishment to member nations? These were the opening questions of Prof. Dr. András Patyi, Rector of the National University of Public Service at the opening of the international conference “10 years in the European Union – the lessons learnt and new challenges” on the 15th of May 2014.
In his keynote presentation Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Tibor Navracsics, Minister of Public Administration and Justice called the history of Hungary’s membership in the EU the history of the country’s realization of the possibilities to pursue national interests. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the slogans displayed in the campaign of the upcoming European Parliament Elections can be sorted into two endpoints: on the one hand, to have a united states of Europe where national interests are dissolved in one supra-national European interest, and on the other, to exit the EU since that is the only way to represent national interests.
Both ideas, however, come from the same mistake, namely that the European Union and national interests are in contrast. Tibor Navracsics highlighted three main issues regarding the functioning of the EU: (1) when discussing the legal material of the EU, are we talking about adaptation or the development of a joint system of regulations, (2) is EU membership a goal or an instrument and (3) is Hungary’s membership a truly unique history or simply one of many.
The event provided opportunities for the discussion of international experts in different panels, raising the topic of institutional and legal changes in the past 10 years, the economic questions and the development of international relations.
The conference also hosted the presentation of the book “Magyarország az EU-ban 2004-2014” (Hungary in the EU 2004-2014) edited by Dr. Attila Marján, Head of Department of International and European Law at the Institute of International Studies of NUPS. The discussion of the publication was held with the participation of Enikő Győri State Secretary for EU Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Egon Dienes-Oehm Judge of the Constitutional Court of Hungary.
The final programme of the international conference was a roundtable discussion with the ambassadors of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Poland, Romania, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Slovenia to Budapest, exchanging views and experiences on EU membership.
The event organized by the Institute of International Studies was realized within the framework of the project ÁROP-2.2.21-2013-2013-0001 “Knowledge-based public service advancement”.
Photo: Dénes Szilágyi