At the invitation of Deputy Secretary of State for EU Affairs, Bálint Ódor, the European Directors of the present Spanish–Belgian–Hungarian and the upcoming Polish–Danish–Cypriot Presidency Trio, met on 30 May 2011 in Budapest. The aim of the consultations was to prepare for a smooth takeover between the Trios.
On 1 July 2011, the Polish–Danish–Cypriot Presidency Trio will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian parties shared with their counterparts the experiences gained during the six-month Presidency terms. Member States were represented by EU Directors, i.e. high-ranking government officials who were directly responsible for the administrative coordination of EU affairs in their respective countries.
“The close cooperation between the Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies, greatly contributed to the considerable progress achieved in each of the priority areas of the 18-month-long Trio programme,” Bálint Ódor answered the question of eu2011.hu prior to the meeting of EU Directors.
Keeping EU Presidency Parliament-friendly
The EU Directors of the upcoming Polish–Danish–Cypriot Presidency Trio, were especially curious about the daily work flow between the new EU institutions – the President of the European Council and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – and the current EU Presidency. The Spanish–Belgian–Hungarian Trio was the first to fully perform its responsibilities under the Treaty of Lisbon. The Hungarian Deputy Secretary of State especially raised the upcoming Trio’s awareness of the importance of a good relationship and close consultations with the European Parliament.
Hungary’s EU Director reviewed with his counterparts the major challenges for the remaining term of the Hungarian Presidency and the state of the issues, which the next Trio has to take on. All parties in the meeting agreed that it is in the EU’s fundamental interest to close the reform process of economic governance by late June; and praised the Hungarian EU Presidency’s tight negotiation schedule, which was kept to achieve this goal.
Reinforcing the single market is vital
The EU Directors of Poland, Denmark and Cyprus all showed commitment to reinforcing the single market and welcomed that competitiveness ministers unanimously supported the Hungarian Presidency’s conclusions on 30 May, hence it opened the way for specific actions. Bálint Ódor emphasised that Member States’ endorsement is particularly important now that the single market is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Polish EU Director Artur Harazim and his Trio counterparts, reassured the meeting’s participants that they will not allow the energy policy to lose momentum. The European Council’s meeting on 4 February resulted in a breakthrough agreement: Member States committed to establishing the single European energy market by 2014. To this end, their propose is to adopt conclusions on energy relationships between the EU and third countries by the end of 2011.
Unified asylum system needed by 2012
The EU Directors of Poland, Denmark and Cyprus reiterated their insistence on 2012 as the final date for creating a common European asylum system; and their determination to conclude negotiations by the end of the year. Bálint Ódor welcomed this ambition and reassured his counterparts that the Hungarian Presidency intends to conduct a meaningful debate on the reinforcement of the EU’s external borders, as well as on the reinforcement of the European Border Control Agency (Frontex) at the Justice and Home Affairs Council’s meeting, on 9 June.
The Polish–Danish–Cypriot Trio’s representatives, briefly reported on the priorities of the next 18-month trio programme, and said that they expect to present the final version at the General Affairs Council’s meeting on 21 June. A detailed presentation was given about the key priorities of the Polish Presidency, including the multi-annual financial framework and the Eastern Partnership.
The meeting of EU Directors also served as preparation for the State Minister level takeover between the present and the upcoming EU Presidency Trios, which is to take place on 1 June 2011 in Budapest.