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The Western Balkans, given its strategic location and abundant resources, plays a pivotal role in Hungary’s security, energy supply, and economic growth, emphasized János Bóka, Minister for European Union Affairs.

Minister Bóka gave a speech at the Budapest Balkans Forum (BBF), an international conference organized by the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs (MKI) in Budapest on Tuesday. He highlighted Hungary’s forthcoming assumption of the EU presidency, underscoring that one of its top priorities is to advance the enlargement process in the Western Balkans, stressing that the region has always been an integral part of Europe.

János Bóka. Photo: MTI / Lakatos Péter

Expressing concern over the EU’s perceived lack of strength in the area, the Minister emphasized the need to refocus attention on the Western Balkans.

In addition to the EU integration efforts, Mr. Bóka noted that Hungary’s presidency would actively engage in other cooperation frameworks, including preparations for hosting an EU-Western Balkans summit and a meeting of the European Political Community.

During the panel discussion, attended by Minister Bóka and Minister of Defense Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, they acknowledged that while the situation in the Western Balkans has stabilized since the region’s devastating wars,

underlying tensions persist, posing potential challenges.

Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky. Photo: MTI / Lakatos Péter

Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky stressed the importance of stabilizing the region, particularly in light of illegal migration, highlighting Hungary’s military presence in the area under the KFOR mission provided by NATO.

Emphasizing the significance of stability in the Western Balkans for Hungary, Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky expressed pride in Hungarian soldiers’ capabilities and their steadfast dedication to duty, whether at home or abroad.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, also participating, emphasized Hungary’s commitment to prioritize energy security over political or ideological considerations, stressing the importance of viewing energy supply as a practical necessity rather than an ideological issue.

He highlighted the significance of infrastructure development in ensuring diversified energy sources for the country, expressing satisfaction with current suppliers while advocating for the attraction of new sources.

He underscored Hungary’s stance against external pressures to alter its energy partnerships, affirming the government’s dedication to maintaining stability in energy supply.

Additionally, Mr. Szijjártó addressed the necessity of expanding infrastructure in southeastern Europe for diversification and emphasized Hungary’s focus on practical approaches to sustainable energy production, particularly through the development of solar and nuclear energy capacities.

The eighth Budapest Balkans Forum was scheduled to take place on March 12 and 13.

NATO Partnership with Albania Strengthens Focus on Western Balkans
NATO Partnership with Albania Strengthens Focus on Western Balkans

Both countries are key players in the region's peace and security, with Hungary leading the current NATO mission in Kosovo.Continue reading

Via MTI; Featured Image: MTI / Lakatos Péter

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