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Hungarian EU Presidency Focuses on Restoring Competitiveness and EU Enlargement

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.06.21.

Restoring the competitiveness of the European Union is the top priority in the Hungarian EU Presidency’s program, according to Barna Pál Zsigmond, the Parliamentary Secretary of State of the Ministry of EU Affairs.

Hungary will hold the EU presidency from July 1 to December 31. Mr. Zsigmond noted that the economic and inflation crisis, the COVID pandemic, the Russo-Ukrainian war, and “misguided sanctions” have weakened Europe’s competitiveness. He highlighted that the United States and China have both surpassed Europe in economic indicators, partly due to Europe’s higher energy costs.

The Secretary of State emphasized that the Hungarian presidency program is being implemented at a challenging time, with the Russia-Ukraine war affecting all issues in Brussels.

Peace as soon as possible is crucial,” he said.

Setting a direction for Europe, after the European Parliament elections, is also a significant challenge. “Now comes the institutional transition; a compromise is needed, and then we can move on to legislative issues,” he stated. He expects opportunities to present and implement issues important to Hungary during this period.

On migration, Barna Pál Zsigmond mentioned that the government has allies and Hungary’s position is to reach agreements with countries of origin to “bring help there, not migrants here.” Agreements have been reached with African and Middle Eastern countries, and they aim to expand these to combat people smugglers effectively.

This could also become a European program, though the European Court of Justice’s ruling against Hungary opposes this,” he added.

Another priority of the Hungarian Presidency is the accession of Western Balkan countries to the EU. The most significant event will be an informal EU-Western Balkans summit with EU and Western Balkan leaders.

Speaking on Kossuth Radio’s “Good Morning, Hungary!” program, the politician said the government would promote a farmer-centered agricultural policy during the presidency.

The aim is to ensure food security in the EU, and there is consensus on this among many countries,” he said.

He criticized the previous EU leadership for not representing farmers’ interests and allowing Ukrainian agricultural products into the EU market, alongside “out-of-touch green ideas.”

Regarding EU enlargement, Barna Pál Zsigmond noted strong support for Ukraine’s accession. “We advocate for an interest-based, consistent enlargement policy. If a country meets the conditions, the door to the EU should be opened,” he said. He added that it is in Turkey’s strategic interest to remain a partner of the EU in economic, military, and migration terms.

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Via MTI; Featured Image: Pixabay

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