European Western Balkans

“A consistent and merit-based enlargement policy” one of the priorities of the Hungarian Council Presidency

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban; Photo: European Union

BUDAPEST – The government of Hungary has unveiled the priorities of its six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will start on 1 July. Among the seven priorities is “a consistent and merit-based enlargement policy”.

“Enlargement is one of the most successful policies of the European Union. To preserve this favourable tendency, it is essential to keep enlargement policy merit-based, balanced and credible. The European Union has long been engaged in ensuring a European perspective for the Western Balkans, as the Community cannot be complete without the accession of this region”, the priorities read.

It is added that the region’s integration benefits the EU in economic, security and geopolitical terms.

“To further broaden and deepen our cooperation, we will invite our partners to consultations both in the framework of the EU-Western Balkans Summit and the European Political Community”, it is stated.

Other six priorities of the Presidency include the new European Competitiveness Deal, the reinforcement of European defence policy, stemming illegal migration, shaping the future of the EU cohesion policy, a farmer-oriented EU agricultural policy and addressing demographic challenges.

In the section of the programme related to the General Affairs Council, the Hungarian Presidency states it will take forward the process of enlargement “in line with the revised methodology, based on the reports of the Commission and following a merit-based approach, while taking into account the Union’s capacity to absorb new members.”

“The Presidency will strive to achieve meaningful progress with candidate and potential candidate countries. A credible enlargement policy is a geostrategic investment in Europe’s peace, stability, security and prosperity. Special emphasis should be placed on regular political dialogue with the partner countries, and on supporting them in meeting the Copenhagen criteria”, the document reads.

This section also includes the discussions on the future of the European Union. The Hungarian Presidency, according to the programme, will continue the process of mapping the internal reforms needed for a successful European integration.

“The Hungarian Presidency will support the review of EU policies to ensure that they are fit for the challenges of the future, and is ready to continue discussions on the necessary innovations”, it is stated.

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