Key Takeaways From the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
A Special Report by Aretera

July 9, 2024
On July 1, Hungary assumed the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second half of 2024. Succeeding Belgium, Hungary will preside over the Council of the EU for the second time (the last was in 2011) and so becomes the pivotal political stakeholder among European governments from July to December.

In the EU’s institutional structure, the Council of the European Union – also known as the Council of the EU, the Council of Ministers or simply the Council – is one of the two bodies of the bloc’s legislative branch. While the European Parliament represents EU citizens through directly elected lawmakers, the Council is composed of government ministers from each EU member state, sitting on policy-specific councils of EU legislature.

Holding the Council Presidency, Hungary is tasked with preparing the political and legislative initiatives in the Council, organizing and chairing the meetings in its various policy-specific bodies and representing the Council in its relations with other EU institutions, primarily the European Parliament and the European Commission (the EU’s top executive body with power to initiate legislation). Three successive EU Presidencies are known as Presidency Trios; the current trio consists of Spain, Belgium and Hungary, until December 2024.

For Hungary, the Council Presidency comes during a highly challenging period, following the highly-anticipated EU elections and coinciding with a major institutional transition at European level. It is also a unique Presidency in the sense that Hungary has been locked in long-running political and legal disputes with EU institutions for alleged backsliding on the rule of law, resulting in ongoing debates between Budapest and Brussels. Differences between Hungary and the rest of the European bloc have visibly accelerated in recent years, resulting from the country’s outlier position on Russia’s war against Ukraine. Furthermore, Hungary takes over the Presidency at a time when Budapest is yet to receive most of its designated €10.4 billion in post-pandemic EU recovery funds. This creates an unprecedented political and policy environment for EU leaders, at a time when the bloc is striving to present a united front in an increasingly challenging geopolitical and global economic environment.

Below, Aretera takes an extensive look at Hungary’s Presidency priorities and its key objectives in corporate-relevant policy dimensions, providing insight into how its Council Presidency may unfold during the next six months.
If you would like to schedule a discussion of our Special Report, please contact:
Dominik Istrate, Research Director for Central & Eastern Europe at