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Greenpeace gives mixed review of Hungary’s EU presidency

Hungary is now half way through its six month EU presidency period. Greenpeace welcomed the positive role it is playing in relation to genetically modified (GM) crops, but called its leadership on climate and energy ‘uninspiring’.

“Hungary’s presidency is a once-in-a-decade chance for a small country to make a mark on the European stage. On climate issues, it has so far been a disappointment. But its time is not up yet - Hungary could still lead Europe towards a cleaner, safer energy system and a higher climate target, delivering energy security and jobs,” said Greenpeace Hungary EU policy officer Marta Vetier.

The Hungarian government has clearly spoken out in favor of a European GM policy based on the precautionary principle, a position Greenpeace welcomes. It has also chaired the debate on whether and how countries can ban the growing of GM crops. Green groups believe that the Hungarian presidency should ensure that health and environmental concerns become explicit grounds for bans under EU law.

On climate issues, the Hungarian leadership has been uninspiring in Greenpeace’s view. Earlier this month, seven environment ministers filled this gap with a public call for a 30 percent emission cut by 2020. Greenpeace urged Hungary to join them and to mobilize EU support for a more ambitious climate target.

Additionally, with the EU now discussing its long-term energy strategy, Hungary could set Europe on track for a fully renewable and efficient future. To do so, the upcoming informal energy ministers’ meeting in Gödöllő should progress beyond the positive but vague statements so far by endorsing a 100% renewable energy vision for 2050, Greenpeace said.