Bóka: EU's strategic priorities should be decided with voters’ will in mind

Hungary is prepared to take over the rotating presidency of the EU, despite the challenging times in which it is shouldering it.

János Bóka, Hungary’s EU affairs minister, said the strategic priorities of the EU’s next cycle should be decided with the voters’ will in mind, adding that voters had clearly expressed their will at the last European parliamentary elections.

After a meeting of EU affairs ministers in Luxembourg, Minister Bóka told a press conference that the past five years had been spent with the European Commission “trying to force through the green transition agenda in spite of European industry, economic players and citizens, rather than in cooperation with them.” Regarding the common agricultural policy and green transition, the EU “is part of the problem, not the solution”, he said. Farmers’ protests and statements from the sector had made it clear that change was needed, Bóka added. The minister said the EU should also consider whether the migration pact adopted at the end of the now-closing cycle was truly handling the challenges of the crisis. “Hungary doesn’t see it that way, and the Hungarian government is of the opinion that there’s a need for more effective protection of the external borders and of strategic partnership agreements with partner states, as well as with states of origin and transit. Otherwise, the European institutions will carry on with their political lines of the past five years, without taking the will of the voters in consideration,” he said.

Hungary is prepared to take over the rotating presidency of the EU, despite “the challenging times in which it is shouldering it”, and has managed to prepare a programme that will foster dialogue between member states and EU institutions, he said. Tuesday’s meeting also tabled a proposal for discussion that would make it possible to bring transparency over foreign influence in EU member states. “Hungary has first-hand experiences on the dangers of foreign players influencing the internal affairs of a member state and the clandestine ways it can happen”. “It is in all our interest that voters could make political decisions with all relevant information at hand,” he said. The meeting also heard Hungary in connection with the EU’s Article 7 procedure underway against the country, the minister noted. Bóka said the hearing had given him an opportunity to “rectify false information” on issues such as the Sovereignty Protection Office, the child protection law, and the general operation of the Hungarian legislative process. “I hope the new information will refine the incorrect and unbalanced image that Western press reports … have created about Hungary,” he said.