While the term of the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrad Group may have seen some political turbulence in the V4 countries, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland,
Hungary’s political stability and leadership on key issues important to the group enabled Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to address the issues of its neighboring V4 countries effectively, ultimately strengthening the position of all within the European Union.
“The Hungarian presidency of the group,” said Márton Ugrósd, director of the Hungarian Foreign Policy and Trade Institute (KKI), “was marked by last autumn’s political difficulties in the Czech Republic (difficulties in forming a new government), a new head of government in Poland and a Slovak government crisis.”
“In this respect, the Hungarian presidency was a stroke of luck because radical changes were not been required after the spring parliamentary elections.” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz won its third consecutive election in April with a two-thirds majority.
A report by KKI published on Origo.hu highlights the strengthening position of the V4 and the success of the Hungarian presidency. The report found that the European Union can no longer simply impose decisions on the V4 group of countries.
“The European Union can no longer afford to force major decisions against the will of the V4,” said Levente Magyar, state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
One example of the impact of the group’s unified stance is the impact they had in opposing double standards in the quality of food products, according to Péter Dobrowiecki, analyst at the Antall József Knowledge Centre. “The Hungarian presidency also made sure to harmonize the group’s positions ahead of major EU decisions,” he said.
KKI representatives attribute the V4 success to more than just political unity but also structural and historic links between the countries. “For the V4 countries, EU membership is vital, not primarily because of subsidies coming from Brussels but the market and corporate relations that come with it and Germany foremost,” Ugrósdy said.