Hungary’s state secretary for European affairs on Wednesday discussed issues concerning the European Union with officials of Bulgaria, the country next in line for the bloc’s rotating presidency.
Speaking to MTI after his talks, Szabolcs Takács said he and his partners — led by Lilyana Pavlova, Bulgaria’s minister in charge of the EU presidency, — had discussed the country’s priorities for the presidency. Takács also briefed his partners on Hungary’s position on various issues.
The state secretary said Pavlova named the progression of the Western Balkan region’s EU integration as one of Bulgaria’s top priorities for its presidency.
Takács said EU enlargement through the integration of the Western Balkans was in the interests of Hungary,
the Visegrád Group as a whole and even Austria, who is scheduled to take over the bloc’s presidency from Bulgaria for the second half of 2018.
Migration was the other main topic discussed at the meeting. Takács noted that Bulgaria was directly affected by the migrant crisis, since it neighbours Turkey.
The state secretary said at the meeting that Hungary is worried about ongoing developments in the EU regarding migration, since several member states support a mandatory migrant relocation scheme which Hungary considers “unacceptable”. He asked his Bulgarian partners to take Hungary’s position into consideration during their EU presidency.
The sides also discussed the need for digitalisation across the European economy.
Bulgaria is in a unique position because this area is currently overseen by a Bulgarian commissioner in the European Commission, Takács said, adding that Hungary is also an ambitious member state in terms of the developments it is carrying out with a view to boosting competitiveness.
The officials also talked about the EU’s post-2020 budget on which talks are expected to begin during Bulgaria’s presidency.
At the talks, Pavlova was joined by deputy foreign minister Emilia Kraleva and Rumyana Bachvarova, the PM’s cabinet chief.