News BlogEU Institutions

The Hungarian presidency is approaching, the first known timetable

The timetable for the Hungarian presidency is beginning to be known and, above all, to be circulating. The Foreign Affairs Councils will take place (this is a tradition) one Monday per month: January 31, February 21, March 21, April 18, June 20. The date of May 23 must still be confirmed, as well as its format (Foreign Affairs, Defense and Development, normally).

Informal side, the informal meeting of Defense Ministers will take place on 24 and 25 February in Hungary while that of Foreign Ministers (gymnich) will take place on 11 and 12 March. A dinner will bring together development ministers on February 20 (on the eve of the Council of Ministers). The informal meeting of Coreper II will take place from 27 to 29 May (the day after the summit on the Eastern Partnership), while that of the PSC could take place on 9 and 10 June.

The european summits are scheduled for March 24 and 25 (spring summit) and June 24 (end of presidency). Note that an extraordinary summit will be devoted to the Eastern Partnership on May 26.

Priorities in view : enlargement and energy security

Among the priorities that Hungary intends to develop: enlargement particularly to countries close to the Balkans, a sensitive area for Hungary from a historical, geographical and cultural point of view (the country has a border with Croatia and Serbia where lives moreover a Hungarian minority, in Voivodina) as economic. Hungary is also campaigning for Turkey's membership. Among the other subjects put on the table are territorial cohesion (at a time when the discussion begins on the future of European financing and structural funds for after 2013), energy policy, particularly on the question of “security energy” (subject which should be pursued by the Polish presidency).

In terms of PeSDC, Hungary does not seem to want to make it a top priority. It intends to work, above all, to strengthen cooperation between the EU and NATO. This presidency will, however, be important for the new Hungarian government at the international level, which has certain ambitions. Hungary is thus a candidate to sit on the UN Security Council for 2012-2013 (The country has not sat there since 1992-93). And the lack of priority should not be seen as an absence of will, or even simply of opportunity.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).