EU Affairs Minister János Bóka: We dare to think independently about the European Union

In a recent interview with the conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, EU Affairs Minister János Bóka provided a comprehensive overview of Hungary's perspective on the European Union and its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. Here's a more detailed summary of his key points:

1. Daring to think independently: Minister Bóka began by emphasizing Hungary's commitment to thinking independently within the European Union. He sees Hungary's approach as a reflection of the country's vision, strategy, and solutions for addressing the ongoing symptoms of crisis within the EU.

2. Honored and challenged: Bóka expressed his feelings about being appointed as the Minister of EU Affairs, describing it as a great honor and challenge. He highlighted the opportunity to represent Hungary at a higher political level and to advocate for the country's national interests and sovereignty. He also noted that his role is not just about personal advancement but rather defending Hungary's position in EU politics.

3. Creation of the ministry: Bóka explained that the establishment of an independent Ministry of EU Affairs was driven by the need for a stronger representation of Hungarian interests within the EU. He pointed out that while the name suggests a focus on EU affairs, its true purpose is to safeguard Hungarian affairs.

4. EU's current challenges: The EU Affairs Minister delved into the challenges facing the European Union. He highlighted the internal diversity within the EU, encompassing differences in values, culture, history, and worldviews. He criticized the EU's approach of developing tools for ideological pressure rather than fostering unity among member states.

5. Weakening of EU unity: In the minister’s view, there are concerns about the weakening of the EU's internal “immune system” and its impact on EU unity. He argued that the EU institutions tend to exacerbate crises and accumulate more power at the expense of member states.

6. Hungarian approach: Bóka outlined Hungary's unique approach to EU politics, which emphasizes national sovereignty and cooperation among capable, competitive member states instead of pursuing a more federalized Europe. He stressed the importance of operating within a treaty framework and maintaining checks and balances.

7. Political solutions: Responding to a question, Minister Bóka disagreed with the notion that political will can override legal and institutional constraints within the EU, highlighting the importance of adhering to the rule of law and recognizing areas where the EU lacks authority.

8. Hungary's upcoming presidency: Looking ahead to Hungary's presidency of the Council of the European Union, Bóka stated that Hungary aims to demonstrate its vision of the EU in practice. Hungary intends to provide political guidance to member states and assess initiatives based on whether they empower member states and strengthen the EU.

9. Rule of law criticisms: Responding to criticisms related to the rule of law, Bóka argued that these debates are primarily political rather than based on values or legality. He emphasized the need for a political solution that respects national sovereignty and differing ideologies among member states.

10. EU resources: Bóka reiterated Hungary's commitment to securing the EU resources it is entitled to. He acknowledged that the proceedings related to EU funds have political elements but stressed Hungary's interest in maintaining EU unity amid the challenges.

11. Hungary's position: Despite procedural challenges, Bóka emphasized that Hungary has consistently worked to maintain the functioning of Europe and community decision-making. He highlighted Hungary's commitment to the unity of Europe and its firm stance in representing Hungarian interests.

Read the interview published in Magyar Nemzet here.