Half a year of the European Café series

As we have stated 2024 is a crucial year: besides the European elections, Hungary celebrates 20 years of EU membership and will also hold the EU’s rotating presidency from July 2024. As we have promised, with our European Cafe series we try to discuss the central question of “what’s next for Hungarian foreign policy”.

Since 2023 December, already 4 events passed by. By now, we examined Hungary’s opportunities and challanges for the upcoming Presidency of the European Council with Csaba Zalai. We agreed that the outcome of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the forthcoming US presidential elections and the European Parliament and national elections (especially in Austria), combined with the energy transition and the economic crisis in Europe, all create a lot of uncertainty, to which a presidency must respond in some way.

Secondly, our invited guest was Mr. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczki, with who we examined thoroughly the roles of recent wars on the Hungarian defence policy. According to the Minister, the situation in the Middle East threatens to escalate more than the conflict in Ukraine, and potentially poses a greater threat to our country. For the government, military reforms could be the starting points on which to build social and political consensus. The minister confirmed that the development and operation of the armed forces and Hungary’s security strategy are also based on our NATO membership, which cannot be questioned.

On the third event, we travelled a bit further with Tamás Matura and examined Hungary’s relation with China.


Finishing half a year of European Cafes with Zsolt Németh, we got a closer look on Hungary’s transatlantic relations.


The European Café series is supported by the ERSTE Foundation.

Noémi Matis