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For Trump it is MAGA, but Hungary’s Orbán will be at the helm of the European Union for six months at MEGA

For Trump it is MAGA, but Hungary’s Orbán will be at the helm of the European Union for six months at MEGA

BRUSSELS (AP) — Hungary’s populist government announced Tuesday that its upcoming presidency of the European Union will be under the motto “Make Europe great again,” but played down any parallels with Donald Trump’s. MAGA movement in the United States.

“This is a reference to an active presidency,” said Hungarian EU Affairs Minister János Bóka, as he outlined Budapest’s program and ambitions for his six months at the helm of the world’s largest trading bloc, starting on July 1st.

“It actually shows the expectation that we should be stronger together than individually, but we should be able to remain who we are when we come together,” he told reporters.

Asked about the similarities with the former US president’s Make America Great Again slogan, Bóka emphasized that it was aimed at Europe. He said: “I don’t know if Donald Trump ever wants to make Europe great again.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who leads a staunchly nationalist government, is an ally of Trump and considered nearest to Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the 27 leaders of the EU. He has tried to portray himself as a peacemaker in the war in Ukraine.

In February, Orbán said: “We cannot get involved in another country’s elections, but we would very much like to see President Donald Trump return to the presidency and make peace here in the eastern half of Europe.” It was a reference to the American elections in November.

Even then, Orbán borrowed Trump’s popular slogan to describe his plans for Hungary’s EU presidency. “Make Europe great again!” he said. “MAGA there, MEGA here.”

In recent years, Hungary has become an outlier within the EU and NATO. The European Commission has frozen billions of euros in funds for Budapest over concerns about the government’s democratic backsliding.

Orbán has become diluted EU sanctions against Russia and has withdrawn from NATO plans to provide more support to Ukraine. Earlier this year, EU lawmakers even called for his government to take the presidency out of his hands.

The Hungarian Prime Minister responded on social media on Monday complain about how EU leaders from mainstream parties appeared to secure the bloc’s top jobs for themselves despite the far-right’s gains in France and Germany in the EU parliament elections earlier this month.

“The will of the European people was ignored,” Orbán wrote on ”

The EU presidency rotates among the member states. The post has little real power, but it does give countries the opportunity to put national priorities high on the European agenda. Spain, for example, used its term last year to insist greater recognition of Catalan and other regional languages.

Bóka said the Hungarian presidency will focus, among other things, on economic competitiveness and growth, boosting the defense industry, more efficient border controls, a “merit-based” EU enlargement policy and “farmer-oriented agricultural policy.”

“The Hungarian presidency does not promise a miracle. It promises the opportunity for progress in some areas, and change in others. So let’s make Europe great again,” he said.