Spain fully supports the Hungarian Presidency’s ambitions to focus on the importance of the cohesion policy, during the period of the post-2013 multiannual budget framework, Diego López Garrido, Spanish Minister of State for EU Affairs, told his Hungarian counterpart, Enikő Győri, at their meeting on 7 February in Madrid.
The Hungarian and Spanish Ministers of State for EU Affairs, met in Madrid for a business lunch. Enikő Győri and Diego López Garrido discussed the Competitiveness Pact, a joint French-German initiative, presented at the European Council’s meeting on 4 February; and talked in detail about the future of cohesion policy.
Spain fully supported the Hungarian Presidency’s proposal, to keep cohesion policy a key area during the period of the post-2014 multi-annual budget framework. The Hungarian Presidency wants to avoid a premature start on the seven-year budget debate, as started too soon, would reduce the chance to take measures to protect the Euro from being a success.
The future of cohesion policy, will be determined by the debate on the European Commission’s Fifth Report on Cohesion, which was launched at the Cohesion Forum between 31 January and 1 February 2011. ”If competitiveness is confronted with solidarity, solidarity will lose. Therefore I think we have to avoid this kind of confrontation at all costs”, said Mr Orbán, advocating the maintenance of cohesion policy at the Cohesion Forum. The Commission’s report is expected to be confirmed by the General Affairs Council’s meeting on 21 February.
In connection with the multi-annual financial framework, Ms Győri and Mr López Garrido discussed the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Union’s Council; and also the progress of negotiations, on the anti-discrimination directive.
The meeting touched on a top priority issue for Spain, the EU-Morocco fisheries partnership agreement, which expires at the end of February. The agreement can only be renewed at the European Commission’s proposal, and with the European Parliament’s approval. Ms Győri reassured her Spanish counterpart that the Hungarian Presidency will put the agreement’s renewal on the agenda as soon as it has received the Commission’s proposal.
After the business lunch, Ms Győri presented the Hungarian Presidency’s priorities to the conference of Spanish autonomous communities. Her speech focused on issues that are particularly important for the regions, including cohesion policy, common agricultural policy, the Europe 2020 Strategy’s implementation, as well as the EU aspects of demography and multi-level governance.