Fabian Demicoli

Hungary takes over EU Council Presidency

On January 1, Hungary assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time since the country's accession to the EU in 2004

 

The Hungarian Presidency is the third within the context of the "trio presidency" whereby three successive Member States work together over an eighteen month period to accomplish a common agenda with the current president continuing the work of the previous "lead-president" after the end of its term.

Hungarian Presidency programme in context

The priorities of the Hungarian Presidency are partly predetermined by two factors: Hungary's membership of the trio Presidency and the global economic crisis.

The Hungarian Presidency is the last member of the Spanish-Belgian-Hungarian trio. Its programme, therefore, fits into the trio programme and its priorities are built on the results of the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies.

During the first half of 2011, Europe needs to concentrate on improving its economic performance and on job creation so as to make growth sustainable and the recovery from the crisis irreversible. Some important lessons from the crisis have been learned and political decisions were made to reinforce economic co-ordination, to strengthen the control of fiscal discipline and to elaborate a framework ensuring long term competitiveness of the European economy. 2011 will be the year of action: the EU has to start implementing the decisions taken in 2010 and use the opportunities offered by the Lisbon Treaty.

As the last member of the current Trio Presidency, Hungary will work to promote the finding of a way out of the economic crisis and to lay the foundations for future development. The EU has experienced many crisis situations and has always come out of them stronger. The Hungarian Presidency also wishes to find a solution for the challenges that will make the

EU stronger than ever and that will create a strong Europe in an economic, social, political and institutional sense also.

The agenda of the Hungarian Presidency is fundamentally defined by the need to manage the consequences of the economic crisis and to launch the new forms of cooperation.

The EU has to be better prepared for eventual future crisis situations: there is a need to institute a permanent crisis management mechanism, to improve economic coordination and to introduce stricter controls of financial discipline.

However, there is also life after the crisis. One now has to see what kind of long-term measures could increase the global competitiveness of the EU. The Europe 2020 strategy provides a firm foundation to increase employment, strengthen regional and social cohesion and to improve the innovation abilities of businesses, so that Europe can emerge new and strong from the current shock.

General priorities

The Presidency Programme is built on four main priorities. Their shared central element is the objective of putting Europe to the service of its citizens: refocusing policies on the sorely missed human face of European integration. These priorities are:

  • Growth, jobs and social inclusion for promoting the European social model
  • Stronger Europe – building on the foundations and saving the future

A Union close to its citizens

Enlarging responsibly and engaging globally

Source: MEUSAC news

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