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Hungary’s Upcoming EU Presidency Priorities Revealed

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.09.13.

The European Union is an enterprise of peace, not war, and the Hungarian Presidency will act on this basis, the Minister of Regional Development said at the National University of Public Service on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening event of the Europe of Nations career program, Tibor Navracsics said that the debate on the effectiveness of sanctions policy is “opening up” again, because according to the first results, it has not helped stop Russia and restore peace.
The European Union is still struggling with slowing economic growth and high inflation, while Russia’s growth has not slowed down much, Navracsics pointed out. Most importantly, he added, the sanctions regime has failed to prevent the war from continuing.
He said that

he would like to see the European Union of 2014-15 again, when the European Union and the European Commission helped Member States to achieve a ceasefire and peace with unparalleled speed during the first period of Russian aggression.

He noted, however, that there now “seems to be less of a desire for new sanctions,” with “lower intensity of demands” from states that had previously been at the forefront of imposing new sanctions.

Tibor Navracsics (L) and Csaba Zalai (R)
Photo via Facebook/Navracsics Tibor

Csaba Zalai, Deputy State Secretary for EU Coordination at the Ministry of European Union Affairs, stressed that the war in Ukraine has put Hungary in an exceptional geopolitical situation to take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and that the task will be a huge challenge.

He listed the main tasks of the Hungarian EU Presidency as agreed in advance by the government, the first of which is to improve the competitiveness and productivity of the European Union. This will be followed by focusing on demographic challenges, the sustainability of pension systems, and the development of depopulated areas.

Cohesion funds and the justification for a common policy are essential, and the importance of defense policy has been evident since the war in Ukraine, Zalai continued. The government has identified the issue of migration and the adoption of the EU’s annual budget as among the most important tasks, the Deputy State Secretary concluded.
Zalai added that legal migration is the “standard answer” to demographic problems, but the Hungarian government has a different approach.

“Our ambition is that not only legal migration should be the answer, but that each Member State should be able to find its own solution. This is one of the goals of the Hungarian Presidency,”

the Deputy State Secretary stressed.

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Via MTI, Featured image: Facebook/Navracsics Tibor

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