RIGA - Hungary will assume presidency of the Council of Europe at a time when the EU needs to defend its European values, believes President Egils Levits.
Levits had a meeting with the visiting Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto at the Riga Castle on Friday to discuss priorities of the coming Hungarian presidency of the Council and broader international agenda, as the President's Chancery informed LETA.
Hungary will assume the rotating EU presidency this May. Hungarian Presidency of the Council comes at a time when the EU needs to defend its European values, said Levits, while also asking Hungarian foreign minister to share additional details about Hungary's presidency plans. Szijjarto explained that Hungary intends to focus its presidency on the role of family in modern society and influence of Christian values on European historic and cultural landscape. Hungary will share its experience and approach to demographics, while also recognizing the diversity of views and governance models across Europe.
Levits thanked Szijjarto for Hungary's contribution to Latvian security and continued participation in NATO air policing mission over the Baltics. Szijjarto confirmed that Hungary fully understands the needs of Latvia and is ready to continue supporting the strengthening of national security of the Baltic countries. He also shared Hungary's experience of practical cooperation with Russia.
Levits and Hungarian foreign minister discussed cooperation within NATO and the role of non-governmental sector in formulating national policies and promoting religious freedom in the world.
Levits and Szijjarto also talked about the Visegrad Group, which recently - on February 15 - celebrated its 30th anniversary. Visegrad group is comprised of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Szijjarto underlined that Hungary does view Visegrad Group as an important cooperation platform on some issues.
Levits and Szijjarto then moved on to Three Seas Initiative. Both officials agreed that this platform should be used for implementing missing interconnections and links between transport, energy and digital infrastructure of Northern and Southern regions of Europe. Three Seas Initiative will also strengthen region's Trans-Atlantic ties with the United States.