Hungary will concentrate on consolidating the economic recovery more via an economic than social approach. According to its work programme, published on 10 November, Budapest will look to reinforce economic governance, while continuing the efforts undertaken by its predecessors in implementing the ten-year Europe 2020' strategy.

There are no big social priorities, even though, at a time of austerity measures and demographic ageing, the Presidency will nevertheless have to stay vigilant over the social crisis as well as the economic and financial crisis. It will also inherit some big social dossiers that have not been resolved by its predecessors, namely the draft directive on maternity leave and the draft directive against discrimination. It will help the European Commission with its 2011 work programme and the 2011 European Year of Volunteering.


In its only reference to the social sphere, Hungary has announced that it will tackle child poverty and the social integration of the Roma (see separate article). It will do this as part of the pilot initiative called A platform against poverty', which was presented by the European Commission on 16 December. The pilot initiative devoted to tailoring skills to the job market will also be a big focus. These pilot initiatives are designed to reach the EU's five main goals by 2020, both in terms of reducing poverty (at least 20 million fewer people at risk by 2020) and jobs (75% employment between now and 2020). It will also be during the Hungarian Presidency that member states will have to submit their national reform programmes, which translate the EU's ambitions to the national stage. The work is proving difficult because, by basing itself on national reform programme plans, only an employment rate of 72.8% would be reached. The final version has to be submitted by each member state during April 2011.


Despite its efforts, the Belgian Presidency has not managed to resolve the maternity leave and anti-discrimination directive issues and will pass these on to Hungary, which may then pass them on to Poland.

On the first item, the general orientation that emerged from the 6 December Council is very...

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