György Matolcsy, Governor of the Hungarian Central Bank, shared his forecast for the future of the European Union and essentially called for more sovereignty for the European nations and a decentralized European Union.
His statement, published in the government-affiliated daily Magyar Nemzet, György Matolcsy argues that there are two scenarios for the future of the EU up to 2030, which on the one hand lead to the continent falling behind the rest of the world, and on the other to lead to it through approaches in line with the approach of the Hungarian one Government to The Union.
At the top of the world for 500 years
Matolcsy notes that Europe was the global winner until the 20th century. Through geopolitics, political and economic power, industrial and technological revolutions, and faster development, it ruled the world for centuries.
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“Let’s learn from past mistakes so we can all be winners,” said Matolcsy, closing with a quote: “The good is the enemy of the better.”
Due to the World Wars and the Cold War of the 20th century, however, according to Matolcsy, Europe had fallen behind, and its nations had become “secondary actors” in the global community. This new historical period, which is marked by a digital revolution, is determined by North American and Asian powers, according to Matolcsy.
American hegemony over Europe
Matolcsy argues that the continent has been under American influence since American troops set foot on European soil in 1917. The world wars, the division of the Cold War, the reconstruction of Germany, integration, the introduction of the euro and the euro crisis were all influenced by American foreign policy.
The Governor of the National Bank argues that the EU has lost its sovereignty as a result of these events and says that “Germany – the EU’s strongest economy – is essentially an occupied nation and the EU is not a sovereign decision-maker”.
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Matolcsy insisted that the Baltic states, Poland and Romania had mastered the crisis better than others, “including us Hungarians”
Matolcsy says that because of the European Union’s failure, for example against American interests, to create a more centralized Europe through the dream of a “United States of Europe” and not to try to regain its leadership after it has fallen behind. He puts forward a number of solutions to different events in the history of the EU, which are entirely in line with a Europe that is less focused on centralization in favor of intergovernmental cooperation.
A European end of the world versus a new golden age
With the United States rising to hegemony in the world, Matolcsy says, the European Union has two options. In the first scenario, the Europeans give up their great power ambitions and orient themselves towards the American great strategy. In the second scenario, the European powers are essentially continuing the path they are on, causing them to suffer the consequences of American grand strategy over the course of the 2020s.
If the EU continues its attempts to centralize against American influence, there will only be more divergences between the nation states, says Matolcsy. Debt continues to accumulate at both national and European Union level, as well as within the euro zone. Ultimately, the European powers will fall too far behind the US, Great Britain and Asia.
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A formerly centralized circle of power can be returned to the hands of sovereign nation states. Several parallel currency systems with their own monetary policy can arise. “
It is clear that Matolcsy is in favor of an EU that is less geared towards EU institutions such as the Eurozone, but rather towards national representation within a Union based more on international cooperation between different entities than on common legislation.
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“Our mediocre economic performance compared to our competitors over the past decade was the result of mediocre government performance,” said Matolcsy
It is also worth noting that the central bank governor is known to have a clear tendency to back the Hungarian national currency against the importance of the euro. This, coupled with the Hungarian government’s emphasis on national sovereignty instead of what Prime Minister Viktor Orbán calls the EU’s “liberal imperialism”, is significant when looking at the government’s thoughts on the future of the Union.
Selected photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry / MTI