The Hungarian Government expects the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which is due to commence in January, to be understanding towards the positions of member states that are against immigration and not take the debate on migration in a direction that aggravates tensions, but instead concentrate on issues on which there exists a consensus, such as the protection of Europe’s external borders”, Minister of State for European Affairs Szabolcs Takács from the Prime Minister’s Office explained in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI following talks in Bucharest with Romanian Minister without Portfolio responsible for next year’s Romanian EU Council Presidency George Ciamba.

“Although many are attempting to suggest that the problem of illegal immigration has been solved, migration will continue to determine Europe’s political challenges in the upcoming decades”, he pointed out. The Minister of State said he had drawn his Romanian negotiating partner’s attention to the fact that Hungary has maintained its standpoint since the beginning of the migration crisis and that standpoint will not change in future.

“Hungary does not support the fact that Europe should be an immigrant continent”, he underlined, adding that: “Member states must be afforded the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not to become immigrant countries”.

“However, Hungary is an open and cooperative partner with relation to all issues that may assure the EU’s unity, including the reinforcement of border protection, which falls within the sphere of competence of member states, and the conclusion of agreements with countries outside Europe that are of key importance to stopping migration”, he explained.

According to Mr. Takács, from a political perspective the election of the new European Parliament (EP) will be the most important event during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council. “Hungary hopes that the make-up of the new EP, and later of the new European Commission, will be such that it shows a much greater understanding towards the positions, identities and traditions of member states than at present”, he stated.

“The planning process of the next EU multiannual financial framework for the 2021-2027 period will also begin during this term”, he noted.

“Both Romania and Hungary agree that the payment of cohesion, agricultural and rural development funding is not a caritative decision on the part of Western European net contributors, but a policy that is set down in the treaties, the volume of which must not be changed”, Mr. Takács pointed out, explaining that it is unacceptable that according to the EC’s proposal lower levels of funding would be provided to less developed regions than to highly developed regions.

“Budapest and Bucharest also agree that the distribution of funding within the research and innovation programme is extremely disproportionate, and the practice according to which 95 percent of the funding available for this purpose goes to the old member states and only 5 percent to the 13 countries that joined the EU at a later date, cannot continue”, he added.

“Hungary is able to support the targets of the Romanian Presidency concerning harmonising the standpoints of member states and improving European unity, but their realisation requires that the points of view of countries from the Central and Eastern European region are taken into account to the same extent within the EU as those of Western member states”, the Minister of State for European Affairs from the Prime Minister’s Office pointed out.