Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: EU making ‘fatal mistake’ by slowing Serbia’s integration

Serbia's accession to the European Union is longstanding, and the bloc is "making a fatal mistake" by slowing the country's European integration, Hungary's foreign minister said in Belgrade on Friday.

“The European Union is in need of enlargement in the current circumstances,” Peter Szijjarto said after talks with Jadranka Joksimovic, Serbia’s minister for European integration.

The EU must take steps to improve European security, Szijjarto said. “We are facing security challenges that have caused the most significant security crisis here in Europe in decades,” he said. “If the European Union wants to improve its own security, it must expand; and the direction of that expansion is clearly towards the Western Balkans.”

Szijjarto said countries in the neighbourhood of the Western Balkans were aware that instability in that region could cause serious problems.

“The stability and the calm and balanced development of this region is a national interest for us, and it is also clear that Serbia is the real stabilising force in the Western Balkans,” the minister said, insisting that Serbia’s European integration and accession to the EU could help stabilise the entire region.

Szijjarto urged the EU to speed up its accession talks with Serbia. He said eight new accession chapters should be opened with Serbia before the end of the Czech EU presidency, so that 30 of the 35 chapters could be open and “we can make real progress”.

If Serbia’s accession talks continue at their current slow pace “because of Brussels”, the accession procedure would be prolonged by several years, “and that isn’t in anyone’s interest”, Szijjarto said.

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