The European Union (EU) is growing through crises. The six-decade history of the EU demonstrates, however, that we have always managed to overcome difficulties, the Justice Minister stated in Szeged on Thursday.

László Trócsányi said at the conference organised by Europe Direct Szeged at the University of Szeged on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome that the fundamental objectives and drivers of the alliance have remained the same: cooperation based on the foundations of the common traditions of the European States, the welfare of citizens, peace, security and economic growth.

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He pointed out that new challenges are emerging all the time, and upon developing our solutions, we must always respect the fundamental values of the rule of law and democracy, in particular, fundamental human rights. At the same time, we must accept that there are unprecedented situations which may require atypical solutions, the Professor of the University of Szeged stressed, adding: this is one of the basic conditions of efficiency.

He pointed out that decision-making in the EU cannot detach itself from the States that create the institutions. In the case of international political changes and challenges, we must find the core answers together, and the European institutions must proceed by following the common directions so identified.

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The Treaty of Rome fundamentally concentrated on economic issues, as at that time, the idea of a political union had not emerged yet. The European Court ruled in a number of decisions that national laws do not take priority over community law. The first few decades brought about the reinforcement of community law which provided a framework for the alliance, he argued.

The Minister reiterated: despite the economic difficulties, in the seventies, the European Court ruled in favour of maintaining the level of integration. As of 1986, in addition to an economic union, the formation of a political union also emerged as an ultimate goal. After the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc, new community policies came to be involved, and the powers of the European Parliament were extended. It was at that time that the debate on the deficit of democracy emerged as well.

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According to the position that has been adopted in the past ten years, community law takes precedence, but not in relation to every article of the National Constitution. Consequently, the Constitutional Court of every country seeks to determine cornerstones that are specifically important for them, Mr Trócsányi said.

Former Foreign Minister János Martonyi argued in his lecture that the changes taking place in the world, such as the decentralisation of power and the withdrawal of the United States from a number of areas, open up opportunities for Europe. However, the more fragmented world order and the intensification of conflicts convey threats, he added.

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The professor emeritus of the University of Szeged stressed that it is necessary to make progress in EU integration in certain areas. In his view, the most important areas where the EU has to make progress are the adoption of a much more unified external stance than seen before, a foreign and security policy that is based on thorough consultations, and far more effective defence capabilities.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)