- 2 Mar 2012 8:02 AM
The title of the event was ‘The euro crisis, the new European treaty, Europe – what do new members of the European Union think about these issues?’ It was organised by Club Grande Europe as part of a series of press events for French and European journalists, running from 27 to 29 February. Those invited included Danuta Hübner, EU Commissioner and former Polish Minister for European Affairs and Estonian Taavi Rõivas, Chairman of the Committee for European and Economic Affairs.
Mr Kovács said that as representatives of the Central and Eastern European region, last year Hungary and Poland played an important role in the handling of the economic crisis during their presidencies of the European Union. They did this with determination and professionalism, and made their complete commitment to Europe absolutely clear.
He said that the Hungarian government had approached the crisis in a completely new and comprehensive manner. Though it is true that Hungary was more severely affected by the crisis than other EU countries, this was largely because of the situation it had inherited. Hungary had to deal with the types of problems that most European countries will only face in the future.
As examples of the Hungarian approach, he mentioned the 360 new laws passed in the last eighteen months and the constitutional and structural changes in the transformation of pension reform, job creation and education. ‘Hungary has been affected both by the financial and economic crisis which hit Europe and also by those particular problems rooted in Hungary’s history which it has had to overcome,’ said Mr Kovács. He said that the results of this approach can already be felt in Hungary.
He said that in the last eighteen months the Hungarian government has been systematically eliminating the structures which have continually generated government debt and increased the budget deficit in the past. Strict fiscal policy alone cannot reverse this process, however. It is also vital to ensure the stimulation of economic growth and a higher level of employment. A combination of these three elements can be utilised in every country, taking into consideration local circumstances.
With regard to the future of Europe, the Minister of State said that the strength of the European Union has always been diversity and continuous change, and the system of institutions must follow this dynamic towards a successful outcome.
In his opinion, the Europe-wide solutions will not be sufficient until we have jointly clarified our approach to the crisis, which he described as a complex of financial, economic and structural elements which point to a paradigm shift in perceptions. ‘Our stance is that Europe should not be inert and unresponsive but should be capable of making rapid and forward-thinking decisions,’ he said."