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Hungary and ‘biting intergovernmentalism’, made in Berlin

Shawnn Tan / Unsplash
Shawnn Tan / Unsplash

While the European Commission is the ‘Guardian of the Treaties’, there is also potential for stronger protection of the EU’s fundamental values by its member states. Germany should increase its cooperation with like-minded member states to defend democracy and the rule of law.

With systemic violations of fundamental liberal-democratic standards and the repeated use of vetoes in the European Union, Hungary openly challenges the EU’s identity as a community of rights and values and undermines its capacity to act. This poses substantial challenges for Germany, which must reconcile the interests of German companies that have invested heavily in Hungary with its foreign policy agenda.

While Germany’s stance towards Hungary under Viktor Orbán’s rule since 2010 has been ambiguous, the current German government has a more value-driven foreign policy approach that was reinforced by the “Zeitenwende”. York Albrecht proposes to put this approach into action by seeking stronger cooperation with other like-minded EU member states to complement efforts by the European Commission. While the Commission is the ‘Guardian of the Treaties’, the member states could – and should – contribute more to defend the EU’s fundamental principles which are their principles, too. Avenues for such a ‘biting intergovernmentalism’ could be utilizing Article 259 TFEU and stronger engagement with the European Commission.

Team & authors

About the Berlin Perspectives project: The IEP Policy Brief series Berlin Perspectives presents precise analyses on Germany’s European policy to an English-speaking audience. The authors analyse German European policy positions on current topics and debates to provide policy recommendations based on their findings.

Image copyright: Shawnn Tan / Unsplash