25th annual meeting of the German-Hungarian Forum and 5th meeting of the German-Hungarian Young Forum
On 12 and 13 November 2015, the 25th annual meeting of the German-Hungarian Forum and the 5th annual meeting of the German-Hungarian Young Forum, dealing with ‘Prospects for cooperation in Europe from a German and Hungarian point of view’ took place in Berlin. This year’s event, involving almost 300 participants from politics, economy, science, and media, was organised by the Institute for European Politics (IEP) in cooperation with the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK).
Two panels and three working groups, lead by high-ranking experts, discussed current topics and challenges of European politics seen from Hungarian and German views as well as current bilateral issues of both countries’ European policy. The German-Hungarian Forum’s two co-presidents, Elmar Brok, MEP, and Prof. Dr. Péter Balázs opened the meeting and spoke about the vital importance of mutual understanding in Europe and especially between Hungarians and Germans.
The first panel dealt with current challenges of the European refugee policy and the question of solidarity among the member states. Despite differing opinions, e. g. with regard to border fences, the panellists agreed that a pan-European approach is necessary to solve the refugee crisis. Coherent national and European concepts for integration and a European burden-sharing showing solidarity are needed. Agreement was also reached regarding the need for better protection of the European external borders.
Subsequently, the participants discussed in one of the working groups economic questions, like the free trade agreement TTIP, and in the German-Hungarian Media Forum the mutual perception of both countries in the media. The fifth meeting of the German-Hungarian Young Forum took also place at the same time, dealing with expectations for the future of the EU but also the importance of remembering the common European history.
At the end, the second panel broached the current EU-Russia relations and especially the Ukraine crises from a Hungarian and German point of view. Although the question remained controversial to what extent concessions to Russia could be made in order to solve the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the panellists agreed that Ukraine should not be sacrificed in favour of a solution.
The meeting was concluded by both governments’ closing words on current issues of European policy spoken by Joachim Bleicker, ambassador and director for relations with European Union member states, and Dr. Péter Györkös, ambassador of Hungary in Berlin.
Please find more information about the German-Hungarian Forum that was founded by the bilateral treaty of 16 February 1992, on its website and in the attached programme (German).
You will find more information in our detailed report in German.