Stabilisation and development in the Western Balkans is in Hungary’s national interest, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with Bujar Osmani, his North Macedonian counterpart, in Budapest on Thursday.
“Whatever happens in the Western Balkans has an immediate security and economic impact on Hungary,” Szijjártó told a joint press conference. Hungary provides full support to the region’s EU and Euroatlantic integration, Szijjártó said, adding that he regretted delays in the region’s EU accession.
While Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia have joined NATO, the EU has made “nil effort” towards their integration, Szijjártó insisted, and urged acceleration of that process. Unless the region’s integration is made faster, “somebody else will fill the void”, he said, adding that “it is time the EU took action”.
At the talks, the two foreign ministers signed agreements concerning higher education, joint courses for training diplomats, as well as a 115 million euro credit line to be provided by Hungary’s Eximbank to finance cooperation between businesses of the two countries.
Szijjártó noted that at the talks the assignment of a group of 30 Hungarian police officers assisting North Macedonia’s border police had been extended until 2022.
Osmani thanked Hungary’s support towards his country’s EU integration endeavours. He said his country would make every effort to joint the EU but voiced regret that Bulgaria was not supporting their endeavours. Osmani said he hoped conditions would soon be in place to start accession talks with the EU.
Featured photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI