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25th annual meeting of the German-Hungarian Forum and 5th meeting of the German-Hungarian Young Forum

Panel on “Russia-European Union relations” (© Martin Pötzsch)

On 12 and 13 November 2015, the 25th annual meeting of the German-Hungarian Forum and the 5th annual meeting of the German-Hungarian Young Forum, dealing with ‘Prospects for cooper­ation in Europe from a German and Hungarian point of view’ took place in Berlin. This year’s event, involving almost 300 partic­i­pants from politics, economy, science, and media, was organised by the Institute for European Politics (IEP) in cooper­ation with the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK).

Two panels and three working groups, lead by high-ranking experts, discussed current topics and challenges of European politics seen from Hungarian and German views as well as current bilateral issues of both countries’ European policy. The German-Hungarian Forum’s two co-presi­dents, Elmar Brok, MEP, and Prof. Dr. Péter Balázs opened the meeting and spoke about the vital impor­tance of mutual under­standing in Europe and especially between Hungarians and Germans.

The first panel dealt with current challenges of the European refugee policy and the question of solidarity among the member states. Despite differing opinions, e. g. with regard to border fences, the panel­lists agreed that a pan-European approach is necessary to solve the refugee crisis. Coherent national and European concepts for integration and a European burden-sharing showing solidarity are needed. Agreement was also reached regarding the need for better protection of the European external borders.

Subse­quently, the partic­i­pants discussed in one of the working groups economic questions, like the free trade agreement TTIP, and in the German-Hungarian Media Forum the mutual perception of both countries in the media. The fifth meeting of the German-Hungarian Young Forum took also place at the same time, dealing with expec­ta­tions for the future of the EU but also the impor­tance of remem­bering the common European history.

At the end, the second panel broached the current EU-Russia relations and especially the Ukraine crises from a Hungarian and German point of view. Although the question remained contro­versial to what extent conces­sions to Russia could be made in order to solve the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the panel­lists agreed that Ukraine should not be sacri­ficed in favour of a solution.

The meeting was concluded by both govern­ments’ closing words on current issues of European policy spoken by Joachim Bleicker, ambas­sador and director for relations with European Union member states, and Dr. Péter Györkös, ambas­sador of Hungary in Berlin.

Please find more infor­mation about the German-Hungarian Forum that was founded by the bilateral treaty of 16 February 1992, on its website and in the attached programme (German).

You will find more infor­mation in our detailed report in German.