Ukraine’s EU accession
A significant part of the discussion centered on the EU's decision to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. Bóka explained the intricate process, stating that “the commencement of accession negotiations with Ukraine is surrounded by numerous prerequisites and unanimous decisions at various stages." He stressed the unpredictability of the timeline, indicating that the process is not straightforward and is subject to various political and procedural conditions.
Financial assistance and budgetary concerns
On financial matters, Bóka highlighted that no decision was made regarding financial aid for Ukraine and the restructuring of the EU's seven-year budget. Expressing Hungary's viewpoint, he said that "Hungary vetoed the revision of the seven-year budget as it would have imposed immediate and irreparable difficulties or damages on Hungarian taxpayers."
Regarding financial assistance, Minister Bóka said that "in cases where decisions involve financial implications for Hungarian citizens, it will undoubtedly influence Hungary’s position."
Hungary's approach to EU decisions
Discussing Hungary's strategy in EU decision-making, Minister Bóka mentioned the country's nuanced approach, adding that "Hungary does not seek to obstruct decisions it disagrees with, but it does not wish to assume political responsibility for them." This stance reflects Hungary's efforts to balance its national interests with broader EU policies, the minister said.
Politicization of the expansion process
Minister Bóka raised concerns about the politicization of the EU expansion process, saying, that "the enlargement process, which we thought was an objective and merit-based procedure, is becoming increasingly politicized." He warned that this trend could lead to a situation where countries no longer feel the need to meet predefined conditions, thereby transforming the process into a political power play.
On the complexity of EU expansion, Minister Bóka said that “the entire process involves 75-80 points requiring further unanimous decisions, followed by the ratification of accession negotiations by member state parliaments." In his view, "if EU member states realize that meeting conditions is not necessary for progress in the accession process, it turns into a political show of force."
Hungary's presidency of the Council of the EU
Looking ahead to Hungary's presidency of the Council of the EU in 2024, Bóka outlined the country's priorities. "Our primary focus will be on reinforcing Europe's global competitiveness," he stated. The minister also touched upon addressing demographic challenges and the transitional period of EU institutions.
Internal EU institutional dynamics
The interview delved into the dynamics between the European Parliament and the European Commission. Bóka expressed his preference for traditional roles, where the Commission acts as a guardian of the treaties and the Parliament exercises restraint. "The Commission's role should be as an executor of policies determined by member states, not as an independent political actor," he asserted.