19 July 2011. Achievements and results from the Hungarian EU Council Presidency had been reviewed by the Ministry for National Development of Hungary and ESPI during a joint event at the Institute. State Secretary Tamás Iván Kovács highlighted the goals and priorities of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency and emphasised their importance for the economic and social progress in the EU.
The event “Space for Society” (download programme here) took place at ESPI and was introduced by ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl. It was intended to demonstrate the progress made in European space policy during the Hungarian EU Council Presidency from January to June 2011. Presentations were given by Tamás Iván Kovács, State Secretary of the Ministry of National Development of Hungary, István Erényi from the Department for Cross-Sector coordination in the Ministry of National Development of Hungary and ESPI Resident Fellow Gerhard Thiele as the core elements. The presentations were followed by a roundtable with the speakers, which provided the audience with an even broader insight into the work and the results of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency.
State Secretary in the Ministry of National Development of Hungary, Tamás Iván Kovács (3rd from left) with (from left): Gerhard Thiele, Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Ingold Schädler (Deputy Director General in the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology), István Erényi and Máté Mester (both from the Ministry for National Development Hungary)
State Secretary Tamás Iván Kovács underlined in his presentation that space must be at the service for the European citizens (download presentation here). He pointed out that Hungary had to conduct its Presidency in times of large turmoil epitomized by the Fukushima incident and the debt crisis. Also the preparation of the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework loomed large. Furthermore, as a result of the Lisbon Treaty and the new shared competence for space policy, a new institutional framework had to be established: the Space Working Party and the Competitiveness Space Council were implemented and their working relations defined. Finally, the recent Commission Communication on “Towards a space strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens” has been published during the Hungarian Presidency and had to be discussed in Council. He reflected also on the impetus the Presidency gave to Hungary for considering a future membership in ESA.
State Secretary Tamás Iván Kovács during his presentation
Specific topics and corresponding results of the Hungarian Presidency in the field of space policy were then addressed by István Erényi (download presentation here). He explained in more detail the role of the newly established Space Working Party and its responsibilities as well as its correspondence to the High Level Space Policy Group (HSPG). Furthermore, he provided additional background on the working process under the Hungarian Presidency when preparing the Council Conclusions, which had been adopted on 31 May 2011 after merely six weeks of intense negotiation.
These two presentations were complemented by Gerhard Thiele (download presentation here) who reported about the ESPI conference “European Autonomy in Space”, which was held under the auspices of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency (see related webnews here). He highlighted the results and recommendations, which came out of the discussions during the conference and have been published as an ESPI flyer in March 2011 (download flyer here).
This event was the continuation of a series ESPI has held with the past EU Council Presidencies of France, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Belgium. They typically highlight the achievements of the Presidencies and ESPI's contributions and provide an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of the Presidencies on the development and implementation of the European Space Policy. The roundtable and questions and answers session at the present event showcased again, how important the EU Council Presidencies are for the implementation and the further development of the European space efforts and, in this case, how successful the Hungarian Council Presidency was in this respect.
Panel (from left): State Secretary Tamás Iván Kovács, Kai-Uwe Schrogl, István Erényi and Gerhard Thiele
State Secretary Tamás Iván Kovács (center) with Harald Posch, Head of the Austrian Aeronautics and Space Agency (left), and ESPI Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl (right)