NEWS

‘A strong Commission with a strong president’

What is Hungary’s position on the recent Franco-German proposal for a strong president of the European Council? We absolutely support the existence of a strong European Commission with a strong president. We believe that this is a condition for a positive future for the EU. As for a permanent president of the Council, the only issue that requires clarification is the relationship this official would have with the president of the Commission. This was not made clear in the Franco-German proposal. Hungary, like Greece, is a country with a considerable agricultural sector. How do you see the prospect of reviewing the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy? How do you view the Copenhagen decision on economic funding for enlargement? We are willing to discuss the CAP review after 2006. The Hungarian farming economy is very competitive. We do not want our products to be at a disadvantage on international markets. As for the funding of enlargement, perhaps there is no need to tell you how satisfied I am with the Copenhagen decision. We achieved what we could. You see, the debate on enlargement originally provided for five new members and began during a phase of recovery for the world economy. Eventually, many more new members were accepted, and in fact at a time when there were far more difficulties in the world economy. How do you view the debate within the EU on Turkey’s candidacy? I recently read an interesting article claiming that the debate as to whether Turkey belonged in Europe had no basis. Throughout the millenia of European culture, one encounters distinguished philosophers and others who came from areas in what is now Turkey. From that viewpoint, Turkey is a part of European culture. Moreover, many Turkish immigrants have been in Europe for years. Of course, joining the EU is bound by certain conditions. As long as Turkey wants to abide by these conditions, it should be a member of Europe. By that I do not claim that Turkey fulfills these conditions at the moment.