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Commissioner Kovács visited the Szent István Secondary School in Budapest, Hungary

On 18 May 2009, in the frame of the Spring Day for Europe project, Commissioner Kovács visited the Szent István Secondary School in Budapest, where he engaged in a lively discussion with students about the European Union. The Comenius partners of the hosting school had the opportunity to follow the event and address questions via the web.   

The debate covered a wide range of topics from the role and mission of the European Union and the advantages the EU membership brought to Hungary to many different questions from Turkey's European perspectives to Hungary's economic performance in the EU.
Commissioner Kovács answering students' questions

In his introductory remarks, the Commissioner in particular highlighted the global challenges we are facing, such as climate change, energy security or migration flows. When asked about how to tackle the implied dangers of Europe without borders, the Commissioner emphasized the need for solidarity, cooperation and mutual trust when Member States have to deal with illegal migration or smuggling of goods.

Commissioner Kovács has also explained to what great extent Hungary has benefited from joining the European Union, as "now Hungary could have a say in the decision making process, whose end result would affect the country anyhow" - he said. The Commissioner highlighted some concrete advantages of the EU membership to the students: "You can travel free and have the possibility to work or study abroad in Europe, a great and enriching experience your parents could only dream about."

Turning to the upcoming European Parliament elections, the Commissioner explained why it is important to vote, by demonstrating with some simple examples - nevertheless significant pieces of legislation, such as the Regulation on roaming prices - how the decision making process works and what role the different EU institutions play in it.

Teachers and students attending the event

 "Europe is for you, for making the citizens' everyday life better and enhancing security and solidarity - in a sustainable way, so that we can share these achievements with our grandchildren too." - the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Kovács has also answered questions about the EU's financial support through the structural and cohesion funds or the loan Hungary received from the European Commission, the IMF and the World Bank. He explained why Hungary is not lagging behind concerning all economic indicators and how the competitiveness of the whole recession-hit Europe could be strengthened.

Upon request, the Commissioner also gave many insights to his daily working life and expressed his willingness to some further talks with the pupils, as they still came up with questions after the two hour-long lively discussion.

Related information

Pictures from the event
European Commission: More about Commissioner László Kovács

18/06/2009 by: Zsófia Stahl