Hungarian Presidency 2011
ESN welcomes the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Hungary took over the EU Presidency on 1 January, following Belgium and Spain in a pre-determined 18-month programme.
The Hungarian Presidency wishes to build its political agenda around the human factor, focusing on four main topics: (1) growth and employment for preserving the European social model; (2) stronger Europe; (3)citizen friendly Union; (4) enlargement and neighbourhood policy. In addition, the Presidency will focus on getting closer to the 12 million European Roma citizens, 700,000-800,000 of whom live in Hungary, and will also attempt to harmonise national efforts to support them.
The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszló Andor commented:"Hungary has an opportunity to shape the future of the European social model and make a decisive contribution to the implementation of Europe 2020."
- Growth and employment for preserving the European social model
The number one issue when Hungary assumed office on 1 January 2011 is to exit from the crisis, generating sustainable growth and job creation. The Europe 2020 strategy will be used as a roadmap to help overcome the difficulties in the incoming decade.
- Stronger Europe
Hungary sees EU internal policies as structured around three basic elements: food, energy and water. As such, the question of Common Agriculture Policy, common energy policy and the issue of water resources (with special focus on the Danube strategy) will be addressed during the Hungarian presidency. According to the Hungarian government, strengthening these policies would strengthen Europe and contribute to more cohesion and solidarity between and within Member States.
- Citizen friendly Union
Hungary will promote European cultural diversity as a European value and plans to move forward the enlargement of the Schengen area to include Bulgaria and Romania, to provide a free movement of people and to protect fundamental rights.
- Enlargement and neighbourhood policy
The Hungarian government announced it will concentrate on the accession talks with Croatia while providing an integration perspective for the whole Western Balkans region. It will also strive to strengthen the Eastern dimension of the neighbourhood policy.
ESN welcomes the Hungarian priorities as ambitious and citizen-focused and will hold its spring 2011 seminar in Budapest, in cooperation with the Institute for Social Policy and Labour, a long standing member of ESN.