Judit Varga – Photo: BZT / Nóra Halász

Varga: Hungary EU presidency priorities demography, competitiveness

The Hungarian EU presidency's priorities will be addressing demographic challenges and competitiveness, Judit Varga, the (Fidesz) chairwoman of parliament's European affairs committee said on Monday.

Also, the issue of EU enlargement is important for Hungary, Varga said in a statement after participating in a meeting of the network of national parliamentary EU committee heads (Cosac) in Namur, in Belgium.

She noted that Western Balkan countries have been waiting for 20 years to become EU member states, adding that accession should be based on merit, and “the double standard” of fast-tracking some candidates should be avoided.

Hungary, Varga said, showed utter solidarity with Ukraine, and 1.5 million refugees crossed Hungary’s borders since the war’s inception. At the same time, no candidate country should be freed of observing the basic requirements of accession, she said.

Meanwhile, she said the European Parliament was “once again” fomenting tensions in connection with Hungary.

Varga said the European Commission had given Hungary’s justice system a clean bill of health, and “Hungary now has the most modern justice system that meets European standards,” adding that 10.2 billion of EU funds were unfrozen.

“The left-wing majority” of the EP, she said, was now preparing “another attack” with the intention of triggering the section of Article 7 on the withdrawal of Hungary’s voting rights. Varga said the EP was acting beyond its remit since it was only the Council or the European Commission that could initiate such a procedure. She said the move was “political blackmail” and “an open political attack”.

Regarding the proposal to grant Ukraine 50 billion euros in EU support, she noted that Hungary earlier criticised the plan “with rational arguments”, but had also put forward constructive proposals, such as extending the financing outside of the EU budget. Questions arose regarding the amount and duration of the support, she added.

Meanwhile, Varga said that “change in Brussels” was needed, “and sovereignist forces can act as the catalyst” for this to happen. A right-wing victory, she added, was needed to overturn ideology-driven politics that dominated EU institutions.

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