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Foreign Minister Slams EU for Dragging Heels on Enlargement

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.06.28.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday that the European Union’s decision to slow down the bloc’s enlargement in the Western Balkans by opening only one new accession chapter with Serbia was “risky and especially harmful”.

Szijjártó insisted that Serbia was ready for as many as five chapters to be opened and there were no legal obstacles to opening all chapters. “Only the political will is missing.”

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The minister said enlargement was the best way to tackle the region’s tensions.

“We in the neighbourhood fully appreciate the importance of peace and calm in the region,” he said.

Migration pressure is substantial in the region, and keeping the Western Balkan route closed is a crucial goal, he said, adding that Serbia had an important role to play accordingly. “Serbia’s speedy accession is of strategic importance, a matter of national security to Hungary,” he said.

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“The European Commission’s enlargement policy has failed; we can only hope that the next establishment will be pro-enlargement,” he said.

Serbia launched membership negotiations with the EU in January 2014. So far, 17 of 35 chapters have been opened and two temporarily closed.

Featured photo by Zsolt Burger/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade