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Priorities of the Hungarian Presidency

Protection of the environment and a gradual improvement of the state of the environment are key priorities of the European Union and its citizens. The EU has set itself the task of fostering the harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, while taking into account the need to respect the environment. The EU is and intends to remain a world leader in activities connected with the protection of our planet’s climate. Climate change is one of the strategic priorities of the Trio Presidency (Spain, Belgium and Hungary).

The Environment Council brings Environment Ministers together around four times a year. They address a number of issues including the conservation, protection and improvement of the quality of the environment; the prudent and rational use of natural resources; the international promotion of measures to deal with regional or global environmental problems. The Environment Council acts by qualified majority in co-decision with the European Parliament.




Tasks stemming from international climate policy talks and the internal legislative tasks related to the implementation of the EU climate and energy package fundamentally define the dynamics of the Hungarian Presidency period. The objective of the international talks is to prepare for the emission reduction regimes for the period after 2012 (the so-called post-Kyoto regime) on the basis of the UN Convention on Climate Change. As the country in office of the rotating presidency, it is going to be up to Hungary to help draft the EU’s common position and represent it internationally.


A new global climate protection framework


Following the December conference in Cancun of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the Kyoto Protocol (COP16/CMP6) the Presidency will pay special attention to move forward the implementation of the Cancun decisions within the EU and to coordinate within the EU the required further steps. The Hungarian Presidency will start preparations for the meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the Kyoto Protocol (COP17/CMP7) to be organized in 2011 in South-Africa. Hungary would like if it would be possible to establish a new global, comprehensive and legally binding climate protection framework that would come into effect after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.


The Hungarian Presidency will pay special attention to the implementation of the EU climate and energy package, including talks on emission reduction objectives exceeding 20%. Depending on the recommendation of the European Commission, Hungary wishes to begin the debate on a roadmap for a transition to a low carbon-intensity economy by 2050, which at the same time would also contribute to “flagship initiatives” aimed at resource-efficiency.


Extreme hydrological events


In the recent years we have witnessed extreme hydrological events around Europe (storms, sudden localized floods, internal waters and droughts), which many countries are not prepared to handle. As a result of climate change it can be expected that he adverse effects of drought and sudden increases in precipitation may even appear one after the other. Therefore in respect of climate change the Hungarian Presidency has decided to place in the focus of its water management policy the integrated and sustainable management of extreme hydrological phenomena. The objective is to obtain the political approval of the Council for the Blueprint for Europe’s Water document that is to be adopted in 2012. Hungary wishes to include as a new element the integrated approach to the management of extreme weather and hydrological phenomena, the role of so-called ecological services provided by water, including their economic and international dimensions and the importance of international cooperation.


Preserving biological persity


It is of outstanding importance that we preserve biological persity and the ecosystem-services of living organisms and to use them in a sustainable way, not only for ethical reasons but also in order to preserve social and economic stability, to alleviate the effects of climate change and to adapt to it. EU efforts aimed at stopping the decline of natural areas and species richness have had restricted success so far. The man-made degradation of biological persity has reached unprecedented proportions.


Following the 10th Nagoya conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on the Protection of Biological Diversity, the task of the Hungarian Presidency is to move forward the implementation within the EU of the Protocol approved at the conference on Regulation of Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from genetic resources as well as the implementation of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damages within the Union. Beyond this, the Hungarian Presidency will work to ensure that the Council at its meeting in June 2011 approves the post-2010 EU strategy for the protection of biopersity. Hungary will try to place in a wider context and study issues related to the protection of biological persity in conjunction with comprehensive reforms related to inpidual policies.


Genetically modified organisms


Member States are intensively dealing with issues related to the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at the central, regional or local levels, because the question is closely linked to the use of land and the character of local agriculture, as well as the sensitivity of the population to the issue. Therefore the European Commission issued a new proposal with respect to genetically modified organisms in July 2010, the purpose of which was to provide larger room for the Member States in restricting or prohibiting the cultivation of GMO crops in parts or the whole of the country. The Hungarian Presidency is committed to making the discussion for the draft regulation on the public cultivation of GMOs a success. Hungary will work to ensure that the Council can close the debate after the first reading at its meeting in June 2011.


Efficient use of resources


A European Commission proposal is expected during the Hungarian Presidency on a Roadmap for the Efficient Use of Resources, which would include material use, sustainable production and consumption and also waste management. This so-called “flagship initiative” of the Europe 2020 strategy has wide-spread environment protection and competitiveness impacts and is closely related to the new European industrial policy initiative. Hungary will carry on started by the Belgian Presidency and depending on the proposal of the European Commission wishes to achieve progress in the field of resource efficiency.


The Hungarian Presidency will carry forward the negotiations aimed at reworking the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and will strive for an agreement with the European Parliament. It will also continue the review of the Biocide Product Directive and the negotiations on an amendment of the directive in the form of a regulation. Depending on the proposal of the European Commission the Hungarian Presidency will commence negotiations aimed at the review of the SEVESO II Directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.




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