The Georgian-Russian crisis, relations between the European Union and Russia including energy security, climate change and the Lisbon Treaty were the main topics of talks in Budapest between Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz and the United Kingdom’s Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy.
Ms Göncz emphasised that the reason Hungary was able to be the first to ratify the Lisbon Treaty was because the country’s political parties were in unanimous agreement over the document, which would have an influence over the future of the European Union. Replying to a journalist’s question, she said that since ratification of the agreement had been rejected in the Irish referendum, it was up to them to find a solution which would suit all member states, and she was optimistically awaiting proposals from Dublin. Ms Göncz noted that Hungary maximally supported the EU expansion, principally the accession of Croatia; but it would be good if alongside further enlargement, a deepening of integration would take place in parallel, namely so the Lisbon Treaty should come into effect, she said.
Jim Murphy told the journalists he would not wish to give advice to the Irish, but, at the same time, the people of Croatia should not be punished because of the Irish decision. The United Kingdom is passionately committed to the EU's further enlargement and is also clear that the Lisbon Treaty can only take effect if all 27 member states endorse it.
In connection with reducing global warming and joint energy policy, the Hungarian foreign minister urged EU member states to harmonise their positions before the topic is put on the agenda of the highest forum, the session of the European Council. Ms Göncz said it was desirable for the EU to fulfil a leading role in both climate protection and energy issues. She added that while Hungary and many other new member states in the 1990s had drastically modernised industry, it would be good if earlier values were used as a basis for determining the size of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions required from Hungary.
On the occasion of the visit the two governments adopted a joint declaration on the protection of human rights and in this regard agreed to continue co-operation.
(September 16, 2008)
The text of the Hungarian-UK joint declaration can be read here .