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SPEECH/10/659

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary

Joint press point with Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary

Brussels, 17 November 2010

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour to welcome at the Commission today Prime Minister Viktor Orbán together with the members of the Hungarian government and the whole team of the Hungarian Presidency.

The Prime Minister and I had an open, very constructive and friendly discussion notably about the Commission's work programme and our cooperation with view to the first Hungarian Presidency of the Council in just over two months. I assured Prime Minister Orbán of the European Commission's full support in the tasks ahead.

This is the third time we meet since the appointment of Viktor Orbán as Prime Minister last summer following the elections. I am pleased to see the continued, clear consistency between the announced priorities of the Hungarian Presidency and our own Commission's programme.

We devoted lots of time during our discussions to our joint cooperation and to the priorities for the first six months of 2011. Issues such as energy security, Eastern Partnership, the regional and cohesion policy, the Danube strategy, enlargement were among the topics of today's meeting. We also spoke about matters on the current agenda, namely the next year's budget, joint efforts at the EU level and in individual Member States to ensure macro-economic stabilisation, fiscal consolidation, and economic growth and, particularly also we have discussed before our plenary meeting the economic situation in Hungary.

A word on the budget for 2011. Before the Hungarian Presidency kicks off, the Commission will do everything possible to help break the deadlock that occurred on Monday, when the talks between the Council and the Parliament broke down. The Commission will make new proposals very quickly.

To deliver on Europe's objectives, we need to ensure sustainable financing of ongoing reforms, policies and programmes.

As I said now during the meeting with the Prime Minister Orbán and the Hungarian government, every time there is a new presidency, we say that it is a crucial moment, but this time it is indeed a crucial moment. We are living very challenging times for Europe and we are having full confidence in the Hungarian competence and commitment to make our common European project go forward.

In fact, the Hungarian Presidency comes in a moment where we are launching the EU's long term reforms for the next 10 years, the so called Europe 2020 strategy. It is the first time we are going to see the national reform programs and discuss them collectively: how we can make sustainable growth in Europe.

This exercise will take place in the context of a very challenging economic and financial outlook. It is true that, generally speaking, we are in a better economic position than we had expected just half a year ago. But we can not be complacent. The recovery is uneven and there are very important challenging times ahead. We should be more ambitious than ever and remain alert as regards fiscal consolidation, economic surveillance, stability and growth measures.

In this respect, the role of Hungary's Presidency will be decisive in launching the first European semester cycle. This is essential to ensure that the rules and structures that we have put in place to repair financial markets will be operational and that we are able to succeed in a stronger fiscal policy coordination and surveillance in the EU and the euro area.

We also discussed briefly some of the important points for the reforms in Hungary and I am confident that Hungary will work successfully to keep its finances under control and manage to correct its excessive deficit in a sustainable manner.

I believe also that Hungary will show strong leadership and careful handling of these economic issues. This is of course crucial from the country holding the Presidency.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After several hours of work in a very friendship atmosphere, I can tell that it was a good meeting because not only myself and Prime Minister Orbán, that we know each other for a long time, but also all colleagues from the government of Hungary and from the Commission, got to know each other. Now there are hot direct lines between them and they are now working in clusters in some bilateral meetings so that we can achieve results for the European Union, for our common project. And in fact I am really happy to say that the priorities for the Hungarian presidency match completely our own priorities, so I am confident that it will be a very successful presidency.


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