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Feb 11, 2020

PM Orbán: EU member states set to reach a deal on the bloc's next budget

Talks on EU enlargement were also on the agenda during PM Orbán’s meeting with the German Chancellor yesterday.

PM Orbán has said EU member states are sure to reach a deal on the bloc's next budget that would satisfy everyone, but more time was needed to get there.

The prime minister, currently in Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, noted that the next EU budget was among the issues on the agenda, adding that although Hungary and Germany had disagreements on the matter, EU leaders with experience in putting together an EU budget would “certainly” find a way to strike a deal.

According to MTI, PM Orbán said he and Merkel will also discuss bilateral matters with European dimensions. The prime minister added that Merkel was keen to discuss issues relating to European competitiveness and industrial policy at next month’s EU summit.

PM Orbán said developments in the “positive agenda” on cooperation in innovation, digitalization, the defense industry and R+D which Merkel had proposed at their 2018 meeting would also be a topic of discussion. Bilateral trade turnover hit a new record last year and it could exceed 55 billion euros.

Talks on EU enlargement were also on the agenda during PM Orbán’s meeting with the German Chancellor yesterday.

The prime minister noted that Hungary supported expanding the bloc, and stressed that Serbia was the key to enlargement in the Western Balkans. He said talks with the country should be speeded up and argued that Serbia’s EU integration would guarantee stability in the region.

According to MTI, Merkel said Germany and Hungary were “following the same path”, highlighting the close links between the two countries’ economies. The Chancellor said her meeting with PM Orbán at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic last August had been a clear sign of the journey Hungary and Germany had made since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Chancellor Merkel also noted Germany’s strong economic cooperation not just with Hungary but with all four of the Visegrad Group countries, saying that Hungary’s “very positive” economic growth was also a testament to the EU. She said it took a “smart” economic policy and investments for Hungary to reach a point where it now has to deal with a shortage of skilled labor instead of unemployment.

On the topic of the EU budget, she said the two countries had diverging positions, given that Germany is a net contributor while Hungary is a net beneficiary. At the same time, she added that Germany “understands very well” the concerns of member states in need of EU funds, alluding to Germany’s economically weaker eastern provinces.

On the subject of EU enlargement, Merkel said Hungary, given its location, has a particular interest in securing good relations with the region’s countries as well as their development. Security and defense policy issues are also on the agenda of the talks, along with migration, the Chancellor said, noting “common points and divergences” between the standpoints of the two countries.

Photo credit: lokal.hu