The European Union has a vested interest in ensuring that the Western Balkan states are admitted to the bloc as swiftly as possible, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Montenegro on Thursday.
Szijjártó said the region was a focal point of the government’s foreign policy, adding that events there have an immediate impact on Hungary. The best way to guarantee stability in the Western Balkans — which is Hungary’s national security, economic and political interests — is through EU integration, he added.
“What is going on in Brussels and some western European countries in terms of enlargement runs counter to our interests,” the minister said. “Efforts to slow the process of accession do not serve the interests of the European Union.”
Szijjártó insisted that the European Union had lost some of its economic and political clout over the past few years, adding that Brexit could only be counterbalanced by enlargement.
“So we’d ask Brussels and our western European friends not to hinder enlargement and not to invent reasons for explaining slow progress in accession talks,” Szijjártó told a press conference.
Both Montenegro and Serbia deserve to be admitted to the bloc before the mandate of the current European Commission expires in late 2024, he said.
The government supports efforts by Hungarian corporations to establish stable positions on the Montenegrin market, Szijjártó said, citing the examples of OTP Bank, Wizz Air, Hunguest Hotels and Hungarian energy player MVM Group.
featured image: Szijjártó (r) with Montenegrin counterpart; via Szijjártó’s Facebook page