EU’s deficit calculation discriminative, says Hungary PM

Brussels, September 16 (MTI) – The current European Union practice of calculating each member’s public finance deficit without regard to expenses incurred through their pension reform is discriminative, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Brussels on Thursday, before a summit of EU heads of government.

Orban spoke following talks with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, during which Orban, and his Polish, Czech, and Slovak counterparts expressed their joint wish to change the current method.

    Poland earlier appealed to Brussels to change the calculation and take into account the extra expenses involved in introducing private pension funds. The initiative was supported by eight other members including Hungary.

    Following today’s summit, Orban said that the priorities of further enlarging the EU, the EU’s Eastern Partnerships, and efforts to create a common energy policy had been included in the meeting’s closing document “with due emphasis”.

    ”Croatia’s integration is not about enlarging the European market but increasing the global weight of the EU,” Orban said, adding that “the perspective of expanding the EU towards the Western Balkans must be kept open.”

    Orban also added that the Eastern Partnership would be in the focus of Hungary’s EU presidency in the first half of next year.

    Concerning energy, Orban said that “the eastern half” of the EU was “dependent on an energy monopoly” – a situation that must be changed through diversifying energy sources and transport routes. He added that a common European energy policy could make the EU a global power.

    On issues around the Roma, Orban said that the EU should work out its own strategy, which should be a priority for the upcoming Hungarian presidency. Referring to critical remarks by EU Commissioner Viviane Reding over France’s expelling Roma migrants, Orban said that no EU member should be “charged in a way offending any nation’s self-esteem”. The European Commission must be circumspect and put forward its position in a way not to interfere with the internal disputes of members, Orban added. He insisted that the right to free movement was dependent on certain conditions, and “what the French are doing is no more than enforcing those conditions.”

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