Gulyas: EC should have competent leader

It is important for Hungary that “a competent politician” should be elected European Commission president, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told parliament’s European affairs committee on Tuesday.

“The EC’s operations over the past five years have been a failure,” Gergely Gulyas told the committee at his annual hearing. He expressed concern over leadership competencies particularly in the EC’s tackling of migration and Brexit.

“The EC needs to be changed, it should not be a political committee, but a body that makes sure that EU agreements are implemented,” Gulyas said. EU institutions should have leaders who can maintain “correct and balanced” relations with every member state “without a record of previously attacking any of them”, Gulyas said. “It is clear that there isn’t a majority support for the spitzenkandidats,” he said.

Concerning the EU’s next budget, Gulyas said there was no draft at the moment on the table that could possibly be accepted in the near future. It would not be “tragic” for Hungary if the budget was not passed before the second half of 2020, Gulyas said, adding that on matters such as common agricultural policy, cohesion funds and migration policy Hungary could not accept any compromise. Hungary will also refuse to accept that the rule of law and EU funding should be linked, he added. Answering a question, Gulyas said the next EU budget could be approved either under the Croatian or the German presidency, in 2020.

On the topic of climate change, Gulyas noted Hungary’s commitment to keeping to its 2030 carbon emission reduction target. Asked about climate protection, Gulyas insisted that targets set in the Paris climate agreement could not be met “without Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant”.

Asked about ruling Fidesz’s future membership in the European People’s Party (EPP), Gulyas said “it is not Fidesz, but the EPP that is in trouble”. “The EPP must decide whether or not it wants Fidesz’s help,” he said.

Asked about the government’s proposed changes to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Gulyas said it had nothing to do with academic freedom, but concerned the network of research institutions. “The aim is to make research and development more effective using more resources,” he said.

Source and photo: MTI

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