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Hungary takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. What are Budapest's priorities?

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Hungary, which often opposes the positions of other member states in the European Union on many issues, has taken over the presidency of the EU Council. Budapest lists improving EU competitiveness and combating uncontrolled immigration among its priorities. Meanwhile, on its first day in its new role, Hungary was accused of a certain provocation.

Head of the Hungarian government Viktor Orbán took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from the Prime Minister in Brussels on Monday Belgium Alexandra de Croo. The Hungarian presidency began on July 1 and will last until the end of the year. January 1, 2025 from Hungarian Poland will take over the presidency of the EU Council.

“Now everything depends on Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orban,” de Croo wrote on the X website.

Orban described the handover ceremony, which took place on Monday at the Belgian prime minister's headquarters in Brussels, as “joyful”. “Everyone is happy that it is our turn to make Europe great again,” the Hungarian prime minister wrote on the X platform.

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“We will deal with Ukraine if necessary”

The Prime Minister referred to the presidency's slogan in the post Donald Trump In USA and the MAGA movement, which is an acronym for “Make America Great Again.”

The similarity is seen in Brussels as a Hungarian provocation because of the hostility that the former US president, who is running for re-election, has stirred up in most European capitals. Asked about this intriguing fragment of the post, Hungarian ambassador to the EU Balint Odor told reporters that he did not think Trump ever wanted to make Europe great.

Odor convinced both the media and diplomats in Brussels that Hungary wants to be an “honest broker” during its presidency, also in matters related to supporting Kiev. – We will deal with Ukraineif necessary, the ambassador said at a meeting with journalists.

What is Hungary planning?

Diplomats from other countries point out that most of the key issues related to Ukraine have already been finalized by Belgium. – The most crucial month of the Hungarian presidency of the EU Council was June – joked a diplomat from one of the five largest countries of the Community.

In June, the Belgian presidency pushed through, among other things, a decision on the 14th sanctions package Russiathe inclusion of so-called mirror sanctions Belarusin order to avoid circumventing the 14 tranches of restrictions imposed on the Kremlin so far, the start of accession talks with Ukraine and Moldovathe signing of a security agreement by the EU with Kiev, as well as the consent to transfer profits from frozen Russian assets to Ukraine.

The Hungarians plan to focus on the competitiveness and development of the European arms industry. According to Odor, Budapest is an example for other countries in this regard, because they make 80 percent of all their arms purchases in Europe. He also announced that combating illegal migration and European integration of the Western Balkan countries will be high on the list of priorities.

– The Hungarians are trying to convince us that they want to be an honest broker and that it doesn't have to be just about calming down the moods – a diplomat from one of the Western member states told journalists on Monday. – They need the support of other capitals and the European Commission itself to implement any of their plans. A good presidency is able to handle matters that are not always in line with the national interest of their country – he concluded.


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