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Reforms Could Be Forced on the EU Sooner than Expected

Barbara Bene 2022.08.12.

Hungary and Poland are getting increasingly frustrated with the leading intentions of the European Union and soon there might be another Member State leaning on Brussels, according to an article written by Andrew Tettenborn in The Spectator. With the Italian general elections coming up in September, the new Italian prime minister could come from the right of the political spectrum.

“Is the EU about to shatter?”, asks the writer of the article right at the beginning. The answer to this could lie somewhere at the borders of Hungary and Poland, the two somewhat rebellious states of the European Union. According to Tettenborn,

while there are alarms from the opposition parties in both Eastern states that the right-wing Hungarian Fidesz and Polish Law and Justice parties want to exit the EU, it is premature to talk about this in a real sense.

As the Spectator article highlights, there have been many debates between Poland, Hungary, and Brussels especially when it comes to the LGBT ideology, rule of law, media freedom, or in the case of Poland, judicial independence.

However, Poland and Hungary do not bow down to the will of Brussels, instead they try to fight back, writes Tettenborn.

Both governments made it clear that while they were prepared to negotiate with the EU concerning its demands, their patience was wearing thin.

As the article highlights, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary is set to become a net contributor to the EU, which means that after that, the country’s continued support could not be taken for granted. At the same time, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice party, and according to Tettenborn, the Polish government’s de facto leader, stated that if the EU refuses to compromise on the issue of judicial appointments, Warsaw had no reason to fulfill its obligations to the bloc.

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Still, while there are undoubtedly many disagreements between the actors, threats of an EU breakup resulting from Hungary’s and Poland’s political attitudes are “overblown hype” according to Tettenborn. The reason behind this is mostly the fact that in both countries, 70-80 percent of citizens support remaining in the European Union, so to act against this would be political suicide for their governments.

However, reforms might be on the way soon, partly because

there are more and more voices in the bloc which call for a confederation rather than a superstate.

Hungary and Poland can use their vetoes in serious matters requiring unanimity in the EU, thus halting decisions. It is clear that neither Poland nor Hungary want to obey orders coming from outside because of their history with the Soviet Union, writes Tettenborn. As a result, for example, Poland is especially against bowing down to a German-dominated EU.

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Although presently there are only two outliers in the EU, as The Spectator article warns, this could soon change.

With general elections coming in Italy in September, the country could have the next prime minister coming from the Fratelli d’Italia party, an ally of Hungary’s Fidesz.

According to Tettenborn, the Italian party’s attitude towards the bloc is as antagonistic as Fidesz’s and Law and Justice’s, so a reform of the EU could come quite soon.

“Italy, Poland, and Hungary in combination may succeed in forcing a Europe of nations on Brussels where David Cameron and others all failed. That would be a nice irony,” Tettenborn concluded his remarks.

Featured photo: Pixabay

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