EU presidency an opportunity for Hungary, says Van Rompuy

09:36, December 22, 2010      

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Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, said on Tuesday that the rotating presidency was a challenge but also an opportunity for a member country to prove it is capable of handling European affairs.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Van Rompuy said he would be returning to Brussels with positive impressions of Hungary's readiness for its term at the helm of the EU, and also that he would be working closely with Hungary during the six month term.

Van Rompuy said that issues discussed during his meeting with Orban included economic policy and strategy, the ongoing accession negotiation process between the EU and Croatia, and the European Semester initiative to coordinate economic policy among member states with the aim of aligning national budget and policy planning.

Orban said Hungary would like to restore momentum to the European integration process. "Expansion creates opportunities for existing members as well as for those countries wishing to join. Expansion and growth means belief in the future. These days, the European Union increasingly needs to believe in its own future, " Orban said.

Hungary officially takes over the rotating presidency for a six- month term in January. Orban said Hungary was ready for the presidency and the difficult decisions which may have to be taken during the six months.

"We are not afraid of this difficult work, or of dealing with unexpected events. In fact we have a strong appetite for it," Orban said.

Orban said the two leaders also discussed the timetable for the Hungarian presidency which includes an energy policy summit in February, dealing with modifications to the Lisbon Treaty, the launching of the European Semester initiative, and a summit meeting of the Eastern Partnership in May.

Source: Xinhua

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