Looking Forward to Hungary's EU Presidency in 2024

  • 13 Nov 2023 12:55 PM
  • Hungary Matters
Looking Forward to Hungary's EU Presidency in 2024
Hungary is making preparations for the rotating presidency of the European Union Council to be held in the second half of 2024, President Katalin Novák said after talks in Brussels with President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.

Novák said on Facebook: “I trust that we will have another successful Hungarians presidency in 2024”. Metsola confirmed that she expected the same, Novák added.

Novák also met King Philippe of Belgium in Brussels to discuss “historical and diplomatic ties” between the two countries. Novák said on social media platform X that it had been an honour for her to meet the Belgian ruler.

They discussed the European Union Spanish, Belgian, and Hungarian presidencies, she added. Novák presented Philippe with an original menu from the 1880 engagement dinner of Rudolph, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and Princess Stephanie of Belgium.

Meanwhile, at an earlier meeting with Hungarian MEPs, Novák said: “There are situations in which it is worth setting aside political differences in the interest of a common cause.” Speaking in the Liszt Institute in Brussels, she offered partnership to all Hungarian MEPs.

“When it comes to important Hungarian interests, we need to seek an opportunity for joint action to promote those interests.” “A crucial cause now is Hungary’s access to the EU funds it is legitimately entitled to,” Novák said.

The MEPs of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance, opposition Social Democrat István Ujhelyi, and MEPs of Romania’s ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party attended the meeting held behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, addressing an event on demographic issues organised by the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations and the Liszt Institute, the president said Hungary regarded real freedom of choice for families as among the most important fundamental principles, and the Hungarian state strove to give families freedom of choice.

She said everything possible needed to be done to close the fertility gap and help couples have as many children as they want.

Novák: Security Key for Hungary

Security is crucial for Hungary and its people, President Katalin Novák said after talks with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels. Hungary’s NATO membership ensures security “both for the country and its region”, Novák told reporters.

“Peace and stability are of paramount importance for Hungary,” she said. Hungary contributes to NATO’s missions and will soon meet its commitment to raising its defence spending to 2% of GDP, Novák said.

The presence of Hungarian troops in the Western Balkans contributes to peace and stability in the region, she added.

Meanwhile, Novák said Hungary supported Ukraine’s right to self-defence and would continue to provide humanitarian aid to that country. Hungary condemns Russia’s aggression against a sovereign Ukraine, she added.

“The most important task is to find paths to peace,” the president said, calling for a ceasefire and peace talks. Novák also ruled out the possibility of any ties between Hungary and Russia “which could undermine [Hungary’s] ties with its allies and commitments within NATO as well as in the European Union”.

Concerning the Middle East, Novák said Hungary deeply sympathised with Israel and condemned the “brutal attack” it had suffered. The conflict, she said, focused international attention on the importance of stability in the region.

Answering a question about Sweden’s NATO accession, Novák said it would “contribute to reinforcing NATO and increasing common security”.

The president also noted the importance of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, saying it was “highly important to honour minority rights especially when a country has ambitions to join our alliances”. Resolution of issues around the Hungarian community in Ukraine “is necessary for Hungary to maintain its supportive stance towards Ukraine’s battles”, she said.

Novák in Belgium: Hungary Stands by Israel

Hungary stands by Israel and the Jewish people “in these dark hours” amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas, President Katalin Novák said in Antwerp on Thursday. Meeting representatives of the Hungarian orthodox Jewish community, Novák expressed “deepest sympathy in the name of all Hungarians … especially with those who have family members in Israel…”

“We are praying that they find the path to peace as soon as possible, as this is in the interest of us all,” the president said. She said she hoped everybody would “soon get back their children taken as hostages and those who have lost their children will find peace…”

Novák noted Hungary’s zero tolerance against anti-Semitism, adding that the country considered the Jewish community as a “rich resource which we want to continue to rely on”.

“We are proud of the peaceful coexistence between our Jewish and non-Jewish brethren … and we can proud that there are no anti-Semitic demonstrations or movements in Hungary, as we do not tolerate anti-Semitism in the country,” the president said, adding that she would like to see the same “in Europe; moreover, all around the world”.

Novák expressed concern about anti-Semitic expressions in some western European countries.

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