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The European Union’s enlargement policy is a “very important dimension” for Hungary, Olivér Várhelyi, Hungarian EU commissioner for neighborhood policy and enlargement, told a conference in Brussels, arguing that in neighboring countries “challenges of peace, security, and welfare” could still lead to instability.

Referring to recent applications by Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova to join the EU, the commissioner said that “these countries see the EU as a place where they could find peace, prosperity, and security,” adding that the bloc should give them that opportunity.  

This is a matter for EU Member States to decide. The European Commission can support applications, but it all depends on the political will of the Member States, he stressed.

After the conference, Várhelyi said that the European Commission would respond to the three applications on Friday, and provide recommendations.

EU Commissioner Várhelyi: EU Needs to Move Forward with Enlargement
EU Commissioner Várhelyi: EU Needs to Move Forward with Enlargement

The EU's objective has remained the same which is to start accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, Várhelyi said.Continue reading

At the same time, the commissioner noted that applicants must meet the EU’s Copenhagen criteria in full before accession talks are launched.

According to the EU Commissioner, the accession application of the three countries could also give a positive boost to the enlargement process in the Western Balkans.

Várhelyi said the region has been waiting for advancing steps for a long time, with the case of North Macedonia, for example, stalled by an internal political dispute with Bulgaria, which devalues the EU’s role in the process.

The war in Ukraine, however, has reshaped political thinking, he said, adding that hopefully some of the secondary aspects of the accession process this way will be put on the sidelines.

Featured photo by Mátyás Borsos/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


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