The past six months have been of key importance for the European Union and the Hungarian Presidency had to face extraordinary challenges, Foreign Minister János Martonyi said on 27 June 2011 in Brussels, in a press conference, whilst summarising the accomplishments of the Presidency. During the conference, Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri highlighted the importance of cooperation with the European Parliament.
Among the number of extraordinary challenges, Mr Martonyi mentioned the public debt crisis, the weakening euro zone, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and the Arab spring.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs reminded the journalists that “the Hungarian Presidency wanted to make Europe somewhat stronger”. “Hungary intended to be an honest broker” between Member States and the individual institutions of the Union.
Of the results accomplished during the term of the Hungarian Presidency, the Foreign Minister highlighted the package of six legislative proposals and the new European level harmonisation of the economic policies for Member States, the European semester, i.e. the two parts of the EU’s comprehensive response to the crisis that belong to the Presidency’s competence. „The 6-pack is almost concluded, there is only one element missing,” Martonyi said. He added, “We can never exclude the possibility of resolving even the most difficult issues.”
Mr Martonyi called the decision of the European Council on the establishment of the single energy market a breakthrough. According to the Foreign Minister, also substantial progress has been made in handling migration; and the results he mentioned included the agreement on the “made in the EU” marking of origin, the strengthening of Frontex external border control agency, and the strengthening of the landing mandate of the European Investment Bank.
Inclusion was another main objective of the Hungarian Presidency. A major step was made in the field of Roma integration, and the Danube strategy is also about integration and inclusion, Mr Martonyi said. Concerning the Schengen accession of Bulgaria and Romania he stated, “This has not been fully accomplished, but it is a significant result that the Council declared the technical preparedness of the two countries; and it will return to this matter in September for a political decision.” He added, “Hopefully in September, there will be a political decision.”
Concerning that, he highlighted that every affected Member State is now happy with this situation, although a few months ago, there was a very heated and even public debate among them. This is the best example for illustrating the real task of the Presidency, the Hungarian minister added.
Talking about the EU’s foreign policy, Mr Martonyi stated that the Hungarian Presidency tried to be helpful. „We have had good cooperation with Lady Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. We tried to be helpful, and we were not fishing for headlines,” the minister said.
“We are extremely happy that the enlargement process doeshave momentum,” Martonyi said referring to the enlargement policy. Concerning Croatia’s EU accession, he said that “the only thing left is the fine tuning in some technical questions.”
The Hungarian Foreign Minister thanked the Commission that “in key situations”, it was “always extremely helpful”. He expressed much appreciation for the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, “for his sagesse with which he tackles situations.” He also praised the supportive role of the General Secretariat. In his opinion, it was equally important that four people could cooperate so well: Mr Van Rompuy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Parliament (EP) Jerzy Buzek.
„The message of the experiences of the Hungarian Presidency for the future is that the trio system works. It can be improved, but it is a good system. Without the Spanish and the Belgian Presidencies, we could not have achieved what we have.”
Enikő Győri: Parliament-friendly Presidency delivered results in every matter
In the same press conference, Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri highlighted the importance of cooperation with the Parliament: “we were in favour of a Parliament-friendly Presidency, we were not afraid to address difficult problems.” As a case in point, she reminded others of the package of six legislative proposals. She added: “I would say we have achieved in all issues clear progress.”
“We have elaborated a scheme, which will guarantee the proper role for the Parliament,” the Minister of State said. On behalf of the Presidency, her advice for the Polish Presidency was that “everybody insists on their roles laid down in the Treaty and should not go beyond it”.
Ambassador Györkös: the Presidency will be working until 30 June midnight
In the press conference, Ambassador Péter Györkös, head of the Permanent Representation of Hungary in Brussels stated that, “We can be satisfied with the results; the Hungarian Presidency will continue the intense work even in the remaining few days, in several matters, primarily concerning the accession negotiations of Croatia and Iceland.” He highlighted that “the mandate of the Hungarian Presidency is valid until 30 June midnight”.