“European citizens are not interested in inter-institutional debates, they want an efficiently operating EU”, Foreign Minister János Martonyi emphasised, in Budapest on 11 February 2011. The word “strong” in the Hungarian Presidency’s motto “Strong Europe” means cooperating EU institutions, he added.
At the meeting of the Conference of Community and European Affairs Committees, of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), Mr Martonyi gave a speech, and answered questions.
“Two concepts of the Hungarian Presidency’s priorities, namely that Hungary as holder of the EU Presidency, wishes to be an honest broker and a diligent shepherd, equate to the programme of proper inter-institutional cooperation. To this end, the Hungarian Presidency will be Parliament-friendly, and aims to cooperate with the European Parliament,” the Foreign Minister said.
Europe is not in a crisis
Speaking of the economic difficulties, Mr Martonyi pointed out that specific member states do have economic problems, but it is not Europe that is in a crisis. In this context, he stressed that the package, which consists of the Commission’s six legislative proposals and aims to improve economic governance, cries for urgent adoption. He highlighted that the Hungarian Presidency’s key objective is to achieve the adoption of the comprehensive package by the end of June.
Mediterranean Sea incidents and energy market
Mr Martonyi spoke highly of the energy decision, made by the European Council, on 4 February, which aims for the establishment of a unified internal energy market. The Hungarian minister pointed out the necessity for unified energy market; confirmed by the latest incidents in the Mediterranean. “Integrated energy market is not only necessary for Eastern countries, but for all of us; since nobody knows which supply resources will be endangered in the future”, he added.
In response to questions on Egypt, the Hungarian Foreign Minister declared, “the Egyptian nation has to make its own decision, but violence is not acceptable under any circumstances, and a transition to democracy has to result in free elections.”
Cohesion policy is crucial
To achieve an economically successful Europe, Mr Martonyi considered it crucial to have a “successful, efficient and appropriately financed cohesion policy”. Speaking about the post-2013 multi-annual financial framework, the Hungarian Foreign Minister expressed that the desired political objectives have to be set, only then can we discuss the funding needed for their fulfilment.
Appropriately financed common agricultural policy
Speaking about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Mr Martonyi pointed out that the EU’s efficient agriculture will continue to be indispensable, to satisfy global food demand in the future, so “the CAP has to be preserved, and financed appropriately and efficiently”. In respect of the Eastern Partnership, Mr Martonyi said, “if the EU wants to be more than an economic giant but is ambitious to have a political influence also, it has to prove its ability to cooperate efficiently with the divers group of Eastern neighbours.”
We all want the euro
The Hungarian Foreign Minister was also asked about the French-German concept on the competitiveness pact. In his answer, Mr Martonyi stressed that “we will not endorse a permanent devision among member states, in and outside the Euro Zone. “We all want to join the Euro Zone, in fact we are obliged to do so”, he added. In respect of the enlargement of the Schengen Area, Mr Martonyi reacted to comments saying that Romania and Bulgaria will shortly fully meet all criteria, and become members if not during the Hungarian Presidency’s term, then soon afterwards.
Media Act comes to rest
Eva Kjer Hansen, Member of the Danish Liberal Party and Vice President of the Danish Parliament’s Committee for EU Affairs, set forth her concerns about the Hungarian Media Act, and welcomed Hungarian Parliament’s willingness to make amendments in the foreseeable future. This announcement was part of the opening speech of Richárd Hörcsik, President of Hungarian Parliament’s Committee for EU Affairs. Mr Hörcsik added that the law could be amended by the end of February, but no later than March; in line with the European Commission’s recommendations.
Minister of State Győri meets the German Committee Chairman
Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri, met Gunther Krichbaum, Chairman of the Committee on the affairs of the European Union of the German Bundestag, separately after the COSAC meeting. In respect of the competitiveness pact, the Minister of State underlined the goals of the Hungarian Presidency to have the six legislative proposals designed to strengthen economic governance accepted during its term. Chairman Krichbaum agreed that reassuring the markets should be the focus of the EU.
The German politician said the precise content of the competitiveness pact, had to be developed in common and repeated the position that countries outside the Eurozone als had the option to cooperate.
Péter Györkös is Hungary’s Permanent Representative to the European Union. Diplomats carry their duties wherever they are ordered by his superior officers, but Péter Györkös has a “personal attachment” to his present assignment: for more than twenty years, he has been monitoring closely the process of European unification and has actively worked for it in his successive positions.