Hungary is urging the European Union to accelerate accession talks with Montenegro by opening in the first half of next year the remaining three negotiating chapters left of 35, following which there should be no more than four years before the negotiations are closed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed at his press conference held in Podgorica on Tuesday.

In the case of a prepared country such as Montenegro it would be inexplicable if negotiations continued for more than four years, he added.

He pointed out: Hungary is a firm and committed supporter of Montenegro’s EU integration as Budapest takes the view that the security of the Western Balkans region is a genuine European security interest, and the fastest road leading to security in the Western Balkans is integration.

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Mr Szijjártó highlighted: Montenegro deserved to become a member of NATO, and deserves at least equally to become a member of the European Union soon. “Podgorica is one of the pillars of stability in the Western Balkans, and in consequence the country’s accession to the EU would significantly contribute to the stability of the entire region which in turn has a major impact on the security of the entire European continent”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

Regarding economic cooperation between the two countries, Mr Szijjártó pointed out that relations have recently been given a new impetus as Hungarian businesses are currently engaged in important talks in Montenegro in the banking, energy and tourism sectors regarding further major investment opportunities.

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With a view to further enhancing trade relations, Eximbank and the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro entered into a framework agreement in Podgorica on Tuesday. The agreement serves to provide businesses with the funding that is necessary for boosting trade relations.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade described the education agreement he concluded with the Education Minister of Montenegro – pursuant to which 30 Montenegrin students will be able to study at Hungarian universities with Hungarian state scholarship grants every year as of next September – as important.

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In Montenegro Mr Szijjártó met with the Foreign Minister as well as with the Ministers of Education, Economy and European Affairs. He also paid courtesy visits to head of state Filip Vujanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and Speaker of the House Ivan Brajovic.