EU-V4 iroda | Kül- és biztonságpolitika

The Antall József Knowledge Centre organized on the 8th of May a panel discussion focusing on the upcoming European Parliament Elections. The experts of the event were Viktor Kecskés, Head of Department at Prime Minister's Office; Dr András Hettyey, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Public Service and Alessandro D’Onofrio International Relations Manager at the Antall József Knowledge Centre. The discussion was moderated by Bianka Restás, international relations manager of the Antall József Knowledge Centre. The discussion aimed to find answers to the most important issues facing the Union. According Viktor Kecskés Europe is changing rapidly, so something that today might be true, may not be true tomorrow. But the topics to be discussed remain more or less similar: security (illegal immigration), economy (unemployment, mostly youth). Some countries are trying to neglect this first priority (illegal migration) but we have to listen to our citizens, and security is one of their main concerns. Members of the young generation may not think that security is the most important issue the EU is facing, they are mostly interested in economy and youth unemployment.

András Hettyey talked about the main issues in Germany regarding the upcoming EP elections: such as migration and climate change (climate policy). According to various polls these two topics form the priority in Germany. Economy, the issue of Brexit etc. are much less interesting, or in the centre of the attention for Germans. He is mostly interested how populist parties will achieve in the upcoming EP elections and how much the now ruling parties will have to rely on the voices of these populist groups.

Alessandro D’Onofrio introduced the Italian perspective. For Italy migration is one of the main hot topics, but most recent surveys show that the main issue for Italians is the current economic crisis in the country and unemployment (especially in the south of the country where youth unemployment reaches almost 35 percent).

The experts also touched upon the topic of the rise of Eurosceptic and anti-establishment parties, while trying to find an answer to the question, how the European Parliament elections could change the EU’s political dynamics in connection with the new, Eurosceptic parties.

Viktor Kecskés stated, that to say something concrete regarding this question we have to see, how the new European Parliament will look like after the elections. EPP is losing some parties, while some other parties are gaining more and more votes. There are two bubbles: the elite and the nation (citizens) across the EU. The citizens are trying to reach out to new political movements and parties – we can see 30-35 new parties which have chances to get into the EP while mainstream parties are losing a lot currently.

The opinion of Alessandro D’Onofrio was that the main reason of the rise of some (new and old) parties in Italy is due to the bad economic situation, and the increase of immigration in the last few years. According to the polls, they can have good results in the upcoming elections. Salvini’s group can be a potential influent group as well, but he is not sure if these different groups could work together on various issues which concern these parties. The most important question is, if Italy will be able to find out a way to deal with the economic situation.

András Hettyey argued, that we have to look at each country differently. As an example, he mentioned the populist party in Germany, the ARD which can reach less votes now than it had before. If you look at the strengthening of these groups, Germany can show that ARD party in the country will not get that much of the support. In Germany the Green party is gaining more and more support- they are the big winner currently. This why it is important to look each country differently.

In the final part of the event another important aspect, namely the questions surrounding Brexit and the situation of Great Britain were mentioned. All the experts agreed, that it is not good for the EU that such a great power is leaving it. Great Britain has always been the country which tried to slow the integration. After the UK has left the EU and Balkan countries will be once part of the EU, the Union will have more Eastern European member states, than Western European. This will be also a significant change in the history of the EU.

EU-V4 iroda