Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Western Balkans key for EU

The European Union "currently needs the Western Balkans more than they need us" and Hungary has a security interest in speeding up the enlargement process, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday at the Western Balkans Forum in Budapest.
9. March 2023 15:23

In a speech held together with his Serbian, North Macedonian and Albanian counterparts, Szijjarto said one of the roots of the EU’s “many ailments” was the “failure of the enlargement process”.

The last country, Croatia, joined the bloc a decade ago, and the United Kingdom has since left the EU, he noted.

Still, supporters of a quick enlargement are “currently in a minority in the EU”, he said. He slammed member states he said hypocritically supported the enlargement publicly while “obstructing it in evergy way possible”.

Meanwhile, it is a matter of national security for Hungary, as “the international community has so far failed to handle the root causes of migration”. That raises the danger of further waves which Europe will be unable to withstand without support from the Western Balkans, he said.

Enlargement has no legal hurdles, he said, “it is just lack of political will”. Central Europe is therefore putting pressure on the EU to “eliminate artificial obstacles”, he said.

Speaking of the war in Ukraine, Szijjarto warned of a danger of escalation. The only way to avoid that, and to save lives, is to broker peace, but whenever government members bring that up, they are branded “Russian spies or Kremlin propagandists,” he said.

The pressure in Trans-Atlantic circles is misleading, as the majority of countries in the world stand for diplomatic solutions, he said. “Hopefully, that will help bring about a ceasefire and peace talks as soon as possible.”

At the same time, the war in another reason to speed up EU enlargement, he said. “The EU must gather strength… and enlargement is a way to do that,” he said.

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