"Building friendship over the ruins of war and hatred, bringing Communism to its knees, reunifying Europe, creating a new global currency, building the common and unified economic region of 500 million people and 27 nations was clearly more difficult than the work that awaits us now."
Where are the snows of yesterday! When I, as a representative of my country, used to participate in the summits of the prime ministers of the European Union before 2002, we were all filled with enthusiasm, optimism, historical commitment towards the reunification of Europe, pride over the historical achievement of introducing the euro, the preemption of another victorious era of the ancient civilization of Europe.
When the doors of rooms hosting European summits opened to me once again in the summer of 2010, I was received by faces marked by worry, foreheads wrinkled with concern, speeches about the insecure future, statesmen and stateswomen urging help and retreating into crisis talks. And all this was accompanied by the background music of the creaking and cracking of the joints of the euro.
An optimistic era came to end, a mission was completed, the fuel tanks of the great devotion are depleted, the carrier rockets had to come to a crash landing.
It would not be reasonable to complain about the unjust and unlucky turn of fate. After all, this is how the life cycle of great civilizations, ancient cultures and world champion economic systems is. Soaring missions are followed by critical ebbs, the search for the road full of doubt, and then the cathartic, supporting and self-confident years of finding the new mission.
This was how Providence defined the mission of constructing peace over the ruins of the second World War in Europe; and this was how the case of reunifying the European continent became our mission after the collapse of Communism, including the introduction of the euro, the most important steel hinge keeping the unified Europe together, which also promised to be the strongest.
The era of almost two decades of a triumphant march was replaced by the tectonic movements of globalization that led to the redistribution of global markets. The task that the European Union is facing is not complicated; it is just difficult. We should manage the crises of national economies that seem to escalate; we should apply a successful crisis management exercise to stabilize the euro and turn it into the most reliable currency in the world; and we should renew the economic system so that it is competitive with its new rivals who are fuelled by ambition and driven by a hunger for success.
The six-month work of the Belgian presidency was similar to the successful start of a running race: now the Hungarians must fight for an advantage in the laps, while Poland will have to be strong on the home stretch.
Fitting back into the special linguistic universe of eurocrats this means that while the crisis management taskforce and the ’Europe 2020’ strategy was accepted under the Belgian presidency, the modification of the treaty should be done and the permanent crisis management mechanism should be established under the Hungarian presidency. During the same period, the operation of the European Economic Semester must be launched and the doors to full employment and the respect of work and production must be opened; and then under the Polish Presidency, with a dashing gallop, the tools must be created of the financial framework for the next seven years that make these objectives achievable.
That’s all. It is difficult, but not at all impossible. Building friendship over the ruins of war and hatred, bringing Communism to its knees, reunifying Europe, creating a new global currency, building the common and unified economic region of 500 million people and 27 nations was clearly more difficult than the work that awaits us now. Why shouldn’t we then be optimistic?
The Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2011 will do everything to make the Europe 2020 strategy successful, declares Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in an exclusive interview for the Council website.