Belgian PM passes baton of EU Council presidency to Hungarian PM

After six months at the helm of the EU, Belgium passed on the baton of the EU Council presidency to Hungary. Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo received his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Brussels on Monday following the handover.

Belgium completed its presidency on Sunday evening with accolades from other member states and European institutions.

In the run-up to the European elections of 6 to 9 June, Belgium was able to conclude almost 70 agreements with the European Parliament. In total, almost 90 legislative dossiers were approved, including important legislation such as the pact on migration and asylum, the regulation of artificial intelligence, the new budget rules and the nature restoration law. Accession negotiations were opened with Ukraine and Moldova.

Hungary also promised to fulfil its mission as an "honest broker" during the presidency and get member states on the same wavelength as much as possible. Under Orban, Hungary has for years been pursuing a nationalist course with a sharp anti-European discourse. The country is also in the crosshairs of European institutions and other member states for undermining the rule of law and fundamental rights. Budapest also regularly thwarts European support for Ukraine.

Orban chose the slogan "Make Europe Great Again" for his presidency – a nod to Donald Trump's slogan during the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

Hungary holds the presidency until 31 December, before handing over to Poland.


Prime minister Alexander De Croo welcomes prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orban for a ceremony to hand over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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