Hungary is well prepared for the Presidency
Hungary is well prepared for her term of EU Presidency, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission underscored in Budapest on 7 January 2011. The two political leaders held a press conference after the joint session of the Commission and the Government of Hungary.
"Hungary seems to have reached a reassuring level of preparedness", the Hungarian head of government said, and added: "the odds are in favour of a successful presidential term. A more powerful EU and a stronger euro will be the measures of our success in June 2011", Prime Minister Orbán said.The Hungarian head of government made a commitment to strengthen the euro. "The euro is the most important tool for integration, protecting and fortifying it is a top European priority", he added. "The Hungarian Presidency will reap success if the Member States amend the EU Treaty in order to establish a permanent mechanism of crisis management, reach an accord on the six regulations designed to create a new enhanced economic governance structure and launch what is called the European Semester of fine tuning economic policies", Mr Orbán stated.
Orbán: Strengthen the competitiveness of the EU
The Hungarian premier identified four main priorities: strengthening the economic competitiveness of the EU, enlargement, co-operation in energy security, and the development of a Roma Strategy. Dwelling upon the issue of strengthening the economic competitiveness of the EU, Mr Orbán claimed that "in the next 15-20 years we simply cannot live the same way we have lived so far, because if we do, the EU will not be competitive. The Hungarian Presidency intends to move Europe one step closer to competitiveness".
"Kindling optimism for enlargement"
Speaking about the question of enlargement and the accession of Croatia, Mr Orbán stressed more was at stake than granting admission to a single country; it was about the EU's vision of the future. "Kindling and maintaining optimism for enlargement" is a vested interest of the Hungarian Presidency, Mr Orbán declared. The Hungarian Presidency supports Croatia's EU accession, looks upon enlarging the Schengen Area to Romania and Bulgaria as an important task and Hungary would also like to provide Serbia with a completely clear-cut accession perspective, he added. In respect of energy, Mr Orbán identified the liberalisation of the single EU energy market and the creation of energy security as high priorities. He emphasised that Hungary adds to that the connection of the Hungarian and the Slovak energy systems.
On the issue of the Roma, Mr Orbán expressed hope that the Roma Strategy would be completed during the Hungarian Presidency and would be approved at the European Council meeting in June. "In addition to interests, the European Union also has a soul", the Hungarian Prime Minister highlighted. "We should not be complacent unless we ensured for every citizen of Europe, including the Roma, the opportunity to become respected participants of integrated European living", he said. Turning to the question of the Hungarian Media Act, Viktor Orbán stated that the issue was a topic for "ill-advised politics" and "reactions were motivated by emotion". He proposed that the Hungarian government would be more than willing to remedy problems if experience with the practical application of the act justifies the concerns. Mr Orbán said he was hopeful that following the necessary legal review the Commission would issue a legal opinion that would reassure every party that the Hungarian Media Act was in full compliance with EU law. He added he was certain that the legal assessment of the Commission would be non-discriminatory.
Barroso: Markets want a stronger EU
Mr Barroso endorsed the Hungarian Presidency slogan "Strong Europe". "That is exactly what we need: a strong Europe", he stated. Europe needs stability, growth and jobs. Strong institutions, strong economic coordination, he added. It is not only the federalists that demand more coordination, the markets want the same, Mr Barroso said. “This is not a utopia, nor idealism, it is realism", he continued. The President of the Commission acknowledged Prime Minister Orbán's idea that in case Europe wished to remain competitive, it had to invest into creating the circumstances for future growth.
On the accession of Croatia, Mr Barroso said the Commission will give any possible support to achieve the goal of the accession of Croatia. Responding to the issue of the Roma Strategy, he said: “we are very committed to working with our member states on a comprehensive Roma strategy”.
"Hungary is a democracy"
Addressing the issue of the Hungarian Media Law, Mr Barroso disclosed that he had received "assurances from the Prime Minister that the law is drawn up, and will be implemented, in full respect of European Unions values on media freedom and relevant EU legislation.The Prime Minister equally made clear that adjustments would be made, should the Commission, after a legal assessment, find that this is not the case for all aspects of the law”, he said. Mr Barroso urged the Prime Minister to formally send the text of the law to Brussels as soon as possible. “I am myself fully confident in Hungaryis a democracy. This country is a democratic country. Hungary is a democratic country”, the President of the Commission declared.