The Hungarian presidency has been very successful in foreign policy: it has managed to respond to difficult situations, such as the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster and the turmoils in Arab countries in the spring, he said.
Gruber, who chairs the Political and Security Committee, told a meeting of diplomats at Hungary’s Institute of Foreign Affairs that in the post-Lisbon treaty environment, the Hungarian presidency acted as a kind of laboratory for seeking new institutional solutions. New practices had to be worked out, fore example for liasing between the EU’s new foreign service and other EU institutions, he said.
Gruber added that Janos Martonyi, as foreign minister of the country holding the Presidency, had to stand in for Lady Catherine Ashton on many occasions when her busy schedule kept her away, which had elevated Hungary’s role in diplomacy.
He added that Hungary had worked effectively towards helping EU integration in the Western Balkans and had much advanced Croatia’s position on its road to EU membership.
As regards the postponed summit on the EU Eastern Partnership programme, Gruber said this issue had somewhat “slipped into the background” due to the shift of focus to the south, to problems in Arab countries. He added that the summit would be organised by the Polish Presidency in the autumn and Hungary would take part, too.