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IEP Lunch Debate with H.E. Dr. József Czukor: “Priorities and Objectives of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union”

H.E. Dr. József Czukor, Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary

Ambas­sador Czukor described the first half of the year 2011 as a time of imple­men­tation, following a number of important political decisions, aiming i.e. at the stabi­lization of the European economy, made in the last months of 2010.
The programme of the Hungarian presi­dency is based on four pillars: The first pillar tackles economic growth, the creation of jobs and social inclusion while the second pillar promotes a stronger Europe. A Union close and friendly to its citizens as well as respon­sible enlargement and global commitment complete the programme.

Consol­i­dation of the European economy as well as the euro area have the highest priority to Hungary, Czukor stressed. Six Commission proposals focusing on the creation of a permanent crisis mechanism and a macro­eco­nomic surveil­lance instrument as well as on stronger fiscal disci­pline shall be adopted until July 2011 thus leading to an improved economic and political co-ordination of EU Member States. In the framework of the European Platform Against Pov-erty, special attention will be paid to the devel­opment of a European strategy on Roma. An-other focus will lie on demographic trends and family policy.
The imple­men­tation of the Single Market Act and a better promotion of small and medium-sized enter­prises play an important role an this agenda, too.

When talking about the second pillar of the programme, Czukor empha­sized the strong devel-opment of Community Policies, namely the Common Agricul­tural Policy and a European Energy Policy. For the latter, the problems of energy security, efficiency and infra­structure will be discussed under Hungarian Presi­dency, especially at the first EU Energy Summit on 4 February 2011.

Main points on the agenda for a Europe for the citizens will be the imple­men­tation of the Stockholm Programme, the first evalu­ation of the imple­men­tation of the Charter of Funda-mental Rights and a promotion of the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. Furthermore, cultural diversity shall be promoted as an essential value of the European Community.

Hungary wants to push forward the enlargement process for all candidate countries, meaning in the case of Croatia a closure of accession negoti­a­tions. Special attention will be paid to the Eastern Partnership, with the second Eastern Partnership summit in Budapest in May 2011. Concerning the external affairs policy, Czukor described the new function of the Presi­dency according to the Lisbon Treaty as one of a substitute waiting on the sideline to support the European External Action Service if necessary.

During the following discussion, Czukor responded to questions on various topics, e.g. minor-ity rights, Eastern Partnership, energy infra­structure and cultural policy. He also explained the new role of the Presi­dency of the Council under the provi­sions of the Lisbon Treaty, shifting the focus from external affairs to other policy fields. Finally, Czukor addressed the recent debate on the new Hungarian media law, explaining his under­standing of the legislative text.