President Áder: Bucharest Nine Open to NATO Expansions in Western Balkans
Presidents of the Bucharest Nine (B9) group support the policy of “Open Doors” in NATO to help countries in the Western Balkans join the organization, Hungarian President János Áder said.
Speaking after a meeting of the B9 group in Warsaw, Áder said that participants had unanimously agreed with plans of NATO’s expansion in the Western Balkans. Áder urged that the region should be integrated as soon as possible, and highlighted its significance for security.
He added that each applicant country would be assessed separately that they meet the entry criteria. The B9 group consists of presidents of the Visegrád countries (Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland), the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia), Romania and Bulgaria.
Áder said that participants had also discussed ways to increase NATO’s budget and enhance security in member states. He added that eight out of the 29 members of NATO have increased their budget spent for defence to reach 2% of their GDP, as required by NATO, while 12 countries have not even come up with a schedule to do so.
Hungary has a schedule which envisages that defence spending should reach 2% of GDP by 2024, Áder said. The president added that the higher defence spending will safeguard the country’s security and help improve defence capabilities in light of “increased terrorist threats and expected higher migration pressure.”