Péter Györkös is Hungary’s Permanent Representative to the European Union. Diplomats carry their duties wherever they are ordered by his superior officers, but Péter Györkös has a “personal attachment” to his present assignment: for more than twenty years, he has been monitoring closely the process of European unification and has actively worked for it in his successive positions.
Back in 1989, when Hungary opened up its borders with Austria to East German refugees, as a young diplomat he drafted the official communication on it, and then as the Foreign Ministry’s rapporteur for the German Democratic Republic, he followed closely on the historic process of the German reunification. This was the European Union’s first significant step towards East. Later, as the Delegation’s Secretary, he participated in Hungary’s accession negotiations, while in recent years he was ambassador to Croatia, which is expected to become the EU’s 28th Member State.
An ambassador is responsible for maintaining the relationships between two sovereign countries, his native country and the host country. In the European Union, however, Member States’ permanent representatives, who have the status of ambassador, participate in common decision making processes, representing their native countries’ interests, as well as their governments’ positions.
Péter Györkös, 47, an experienced diplomat who speaks a number of European languages, opposes the frequent view that Hungary, on its accession to the EU, sacrifices a part of its sovereignty. “We haven’t given up anything, instead, we now exercise a part of our sovereignty as a member of the EU and jointly with the other 26 countries, including great nations like Great Britain, France and Germany, which are not less proud of their histories and traditions then we are. As a result, we cannot always enforce our interests either, but integrated in a system of European interests, we can represent our national ambitions more efficiently than we could alone.”