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“Make Europe great again” – the Priorities of the Hungarian EU Presidency

Hungary Today 2024.06.19.
State Secretary Zoltán Kovács and Minister János Bóka

János Bóka, Minister for European Union Affairs, and Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication, presented the seven main priorities and the program of the Hungarian EU Presidency, running from July 1 to December 31.

“Make Europe Great Again!” This is the motto of Hungary’s six-month EU Presidency. Minister Bóka noted that the chosen slogan refers to an active and proactive presidency, and also symbolizes that “together we are stronger than apart.” He said the motto reflects the idea that Europe can become an independent global player.

The two politicians also unveiled the logo of the rotating presidency, based on the Rubik’s cube, both a Hungarian and an internationally renowned invention.

“The Rubik’s cube is made up of 27 small squares, representing the 27 EU member states,” emphasized Zoltán Kovács, who pointed out that the logic game was introduced 50 years ago, in 1974, by its inventor, Ernő Rubik.

Minister János Bóka stressed that Hungary will hold the presidency in an exceptional situation. “Europe is facing common challenges: war in our neighborhood, global competition, fragile security, illegal migration, natural disasters, the effects of climate change, and demographic challenges,” he said. 2024 is the year of transition, and with the newly established European Parliament and European Commission, the continuity of the institutional transition must be ensured.

Bóka promised fair cooperation with the EU institutions and Member States, but also indicated that Hungary would take a firm approach on many issues.

The Minister explained that in the course of the six months, there will be around 1,500 council working groups, 37 formal council meetings planned in Brussels and Luxembourg, and 230 Presidency events in Hungary. The latter will include 16 informal council meetings, one informal European Council meeting, and a European Political Community summit.

He also listed the seven priorities that the Hungarian EU Presidency will focus on in the second half of 2024:

  1. The adoption of the new European Competitiveness Pact, aiming to improve the EU’s competitiveness.
  2. The strengthening of European defense policy in the fields of defense industry, defense innovation, and defense procurement in the Member States.
  3. Curbing illegal migration through effective cooperation with relevant third countries, increasing the efficiency of returns and innovative solutions to the asylum system.
  4. A merit-based, balanced and credible enlargement policy, with a particular focus on advancing the accession process of the Western Balkan countries.
  5. Launch of a strategic debate on the future of cohesion policy.
  6. A farmer-centered agricultural policy: guaranteeing a fair livelihood for farmers, food sovereignty, and food security.
  7. Addressing demographic challenges.

Bóka highlighted important points, such as the application of new fiscal rules, completion of Schengen enlargement, promotion of competitive European higher education, the protection of cultural heritage, and the fight against antisemitism. “The success of the Hungarian Presidency will be a success for Europe as a whole,” he underlined.

The Minister also noted that

Hungary does not support the reappointment of Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission.

He also indicated that no objections had been raised against former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, who is a candidate for the presidency of the European Council, or Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, a candidate for the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

State Secretary Zoltán Kovács, who is also the Government Commissioner for the Hungarian EU Presidency, announced that the official calendar of the Presidency includes 177 events, including 16 ministerial meetings and two major summits. He said that the main venue for the events would be the Buda Castle Garden Bazaar. Events are expected to take place at the Bálna Events Center, universities, ministries, the Museum of Ethnography, and Puskás Arena, among others.

The Government Commissioner also pointed out that the website www.hu24eu.hu has already been launched, where the latest news on the Hungarian EU Presidency can be found.

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Via X, MTI, Portfolio; Featured image via X/Zoltan Kovacs

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