The building of the European Parliament in Brussels – Photo: wikipedia

Ministry: Hungary to prepare EU 2025 budget

This year Hungary will take up the presidency of the European Union "for the second time amid challenging times", Mihaly Varga, the finance minister, said after meeting Thomas Westphal, director-general for economic and financial affairs of the European Council, in Budapest on Tuesday.

The finance ministry stands ready to fulfil the important task of the upcoming presidency of drafting the EU’s budget for 2025, Varga said, adding that the presidency would focus on challenges related to competitiveness and demographics, the ministry said in a statement.

The Hungarian presidency will need to find ways to increase the bloc’s competitiveness, the statement quoted Varga as saying, adding that efforts would be made to reduce “the growth and innovation gap” between the EU and its competitors.

“We want heightened focus on demographic problems which may fundamentally determine the continent’s future. Reversing negative demographic trends is one of the greatest challenges; that is why the Hungarian government is committed to supporting families,” Varga said, adding that Hungary’s family benefits in relation to economic output was the highest in the EU.

Varga said the EU should take a greater responsibility for Europe’s security, increase defence spending and reinforce border controls. He warned that illegal migration “must be stopped rather than managed”, and he urged the EU to increase its contribution to the related efforts of members states.

He said the EU could have a new common customs authority and database to “meet new challenges of e-trade,” the statement said.

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