Zoltán Kovács: Hungary prepares for EU Presidency, eyes cooperation with China and the U.S.

State Secretary Kovács sat down for a quick interview with Economx.hu following his lecture at their Business Talks'24 conference.

At the Business Talks '24 conference held as part of the Economx professional event, Zoltán Kovács, Hungary's State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, discussed Hungary's upcoming presidency of the European Union. Kovács highlighted the government's primary aim to engage in discourse about Europe’s skewed competitiveness through a conservative, Christian Democratic, pragmatic approach focused on renewal.

The state secretary also emphasized Hungary's readiness for the presidency, drawing on fourteen years of political and organizational experience to aid the EU’s functioning, especially in addressing pressing issues. Despite facing legal proceedings regarding rule of law, State Secretary Kovács sees this as an opportunity to internally reshape the EU and reflect Hungary's perspectives more prominently.

On the financial front, Kovács criticized the EU's management of funds, arguing that the allocation process has been politicized, jeopardizing the EU's competitiveness amid global challenges like pandemics, wars, and energy crises. He proposed that the EU should speed up and enhance its fund distribution to swiftly respond to these challenges.

Looking forward, the state secretary proposed plans to improve national economies, mentioning that 23.1% of budget allocations would target economic and communication development, with significant investments in environmental protection, education, health, and social services.

Regarding international relations, Kovács defended Hungary’s strategic moves to cooperate with China, especially in sectors like battery and electric vehicle manufacturing, challenging the criticism from both the U.S. and within the EU. He advocated for the EU to focus more on opportunities and investments rather than stringent regulations, which he believes stifle competition and innovation.

As Hungary gears up for its EU presidency, Kovács envisions using this position to mediate between major powers like China and the U.S. and to enhance tripartite relations, ultimately contributing to Europe’s competitive edge and reducing its lag behind major global economies.