Foreign Affairs
Tibor Navracsics - Hungary Today (source: European Parliament / Flickr)

Despite Multiple Crises, Hungarian EU Commissioner Envisions “Stable, Peaceful European Community”

Securing economic growth and promoting a stable, peaceful European community will remain in the focus of the European Commission’s efforts during the remainder of its mandate, the European commissioner for education, culture youth and sport said.

Hungary’s Tibor Navracsics told parliament’s European affairs committee that the European Union is experiencing one of the hardest periods of its history. In addition to the still alarming conditions of the Greek budget and domestic affairs, the EU is also facing a migration crisis and the Brexit talks. These historic events make it difficult for the commission to keep up with its original programme, Navracsics said.

The two main goals that the EC declared at the beginning of its mandate were gradual economic improvements and proximity, he added. Economic growth will remain one of the most important issues in the remaining period, he said. European economies now progress on the right path and the EU has used its own resources to recover from the crisis and remain a crucial player in the world economy, Navracsics said.

Deputy head of the committee, Tibor Bana of Hungary’s radical nationalist Jobbik party, asked the commissioner about the Central European University (CEU). Navracsics said that under the best-case scenario all problems would be clarified and resolved through a dialogue between the Hungarian government and the EC. However, if they fail to strike a compromise, then the EC may turn to the European Court of Justice, he added. The CEU is an important institution of Hungary’s higher education which must be valued and preserved, he said. All efforts must be made to enable it to continue its operation under the new conditions, he added, noting that he had repeatedly offered to mediate in the negotiations.

The Hungarian parliament approved an amendment to the higher education act to regulate the operation of foreign universities in Hungary in early April. The amendment is widely seen as an attack on the CEU, founded by American financier George Soros in 1991. The amendment sparked protests both in Hungary and abroad.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; photo: European Parliament / Flickr