Magazine article Europe-East

Presidency : Orban Wants to Launch Pro-Enlargement "Offensive"

Magazine article Europe-East

Presidency : Orban Wants to Launch Pro-Enlargement "Offensive"

Article excerpt

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced his intention to launch a pro-enlargement "offensive". Appearing in front of the press to evaluate the achievements of the Hungarian EU Presidency at mid-mandate, Orban said it is "the mission of the Central European countries to gather together all the friends of enlargement" to counter the current mood ("support for enlargement has never been lower than it is now").

"Enlargement is not just a cost, not a budgetary item. We have to see the potential for growth," said Orban, lauding the Eastern European countries' role as "the motor of Europe" with their industrial capacity in lessening the blow of the crisis. Concerning Croatia, the Hungarian prime minister called for a "fair" treatment and warned against assessing any country on political grounds. "Croatia has achieved results, what it has not achieved so far they should by May and then we should declare the end of the negotiations," he stated. If Serbia were to be given candidate status this would not be "a present," said Orban, it would be "a recognition of the work done up until now". "It's dangerous to let a country down that has a European perspective in mind," he concluded.

ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE

Recounting the achievements, Orban stated that "the machine is in good working order at this stage" before going through a list of the "goals" his Presidency has "scored at half-time".

In reference to the package of six proposals on economic governance presented by the European Commission in September, Orban said he hopes agreement could be found between the European Parliament and the Council "in June, maybe with a few weeks' delay". …

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