EU Presidency – Former NATO chief commends Hungary for EU presidency performance

Budapest, June 16 (MTI) – Javier Solana, the former Secretary General of NATO, spoke in appreciation of Hungary’s performance as EU president in the first six months of this year, in an interview with MTI on Thursday.  

Evaluating Hungary’s overall performance he said the presidency had acted “correctly” during a period when “very difficult situations had to be handled” and the EU’s main focus had been on tackling the financial-economic crisis.


Solana, who served as Secretary General of the Council of the European Union in 1999-2009, said that as regards the financial-economic situation he was optimistic because “the EU also finds a way to come out of crises.”


On the subject of the Western Balkan region’s integration with the EU, one of the Hungarian presidency’s priorities, Solana noted the significant progress Croatia had made in its accession in the past few weeks. He also referred to Serbia’s extraditing Ratko Mladic as an important step in the country’s EU entry.


He said the EU must remain open towards further enlargement and should sooner or later admit Turkey.


Solana commented on the current events in North Africa, as being revolutionary changes. He said it was fantastic as the young Arab generation stood up for itself, asking not for money but help for the restoration of their dignity. He added that “this was only the beginning,” but stressed that the “Arab Spring could not hinder the EU’s advancement in its cooperation with Eastern neighbours.”


Solana is in Budapest to receive the Central European University’s Open Society Prize that Hungarian-born founder of the university George Soros is to present later in the day.