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Boka: Hungary to work on strengthening EU’s competitiveness during presidency – The Budapest Times

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Budapest will be aiming to strengthen the European Union’s competitiveness during the Hungarian presidency of the Council of the European Union, Janos Boka, the EU affairs minister, said in Brussels on Wednesday.

Outlining this month’s schedule of informal Council meetings in Hungary, Boka told a press conference that these meetings would aim to shape the bloc’s competitiveness and political direction.

This month Hungary will host informal meetings of the EU’s environmental protection, justice and interior ministers, among others, he said.

The ministers in charge of environmental protection will discuss water management, while justice and interior ministers will cover cooperation among EU judicial bodies, the role of artificial intelligence in court proceedings, the fight against organised crime and migration, he added.

Meanwhile, Boka said the next round of Council hearings in the EU’s Article 7 procedure against Hungary were expected to be held after the Hungarian presidency, adding, at the same time, that he was not against holding such a hearing during the next six months.

Concerning Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s visit to Moscow last week, Boka said the visit had not violated international or EU law, underlining that if the EU wanted to take steps to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, it had to keep communication channels with Moscow open.

Asked about a strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv, the minister said these kinds of “shocking atrocities” further demonstrated the urgent need for peace.

As regards Orban’s visit to Kyiv, he said Budapest and Kyiv had “begun a new chapter” in their relations. Concerning the prime minister’s visit to Beijing, Boka said that if the goal was to achieve lasting peace in Ukraine, China could not be left out.

Meanwhile, Boka said that the prime minister — though he had not been obliged to do so — had briefed EU leaders on his visit to Moscow.

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