Council Presidency EU Presidency: Hungary wants to make Europe “great” again

Donald Trump and Viktor Orban have often had words of praise for each other – and have a lot in common politically. Now the right-wing nationalist Hungarian government is using a well-known Trump slogan.

“Make Europe Great Again”: The right-wing nationalist Hungarian government is using a modified election campaign slogan of the controversial American ex-president Donald Trump as the motto for its upcoming EU Council Presidency. In German, the saying means something like “Make Europe great again”.

In the past, Hungary's right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Trump have repeatedly praised each other. In March, Orban praised Trump as the “President of Peace” at a meeting, while the American praised the Hungarian as the “best leader” ever.

Political similarities with Trump

Orban was the only head of government of an EU country who had openly declared his support for the Republican before Trump was elected president in 2016. The two right-wing populists have a lot in common politically. Trump's former chief advisor Bannon once described the Hungarian as “Trump before Trump”. Orban has been in power in Hungary since 2010. Trump, on the other hand, has a soft spot for autocrats. He has never made a secret of this.

In July, Hungary will take over the rotating presidency of the EU Council for six months. The government in Budapest will then play an important mediating role in disputes between EU states and Hungarian ministers will chair EU ministerial meetings. Belgium currently holds this role.

Orban gives up opposition to Rutte as NATO Secretary General

Meanwhile, Orban is giving up his opposition to the appointment of outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the new Secretary General of NATO. Orban said Hungary was ready to support Rutte's candidacy.

This means that the path is as good as clear for Rutte to succeed Jens Stoltenberg. The only hurdle is the candidacy of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for the top NATO job, which he has not publicly withdrawn until recently. However, Iohannis no longer has any relevant supporters.

The Hungarian Orban today cited a letter from Rutte in which he responded to Hungarian demands as the reason for his concession on the personnel issue. One of the issues is that Hungary wants to be sure that it will not be pressured into participating in a planned NATO mission to coordinate arms deliveries to Ukraine. Orban's government fears that the project could push the alliance into a direct confrontation with Russia.

Stoltenberg said in Washington that it was obvious that a deal was imminent. Rutte was a very strong candidate. He was convinced that the alliance would have decided on the successor very soon, said Stoltenberg.