“EU enlargement in the direction of the Western Balkans is in Hungary’s national security and national economic interests”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Tuesday in Bratislava.

Hungary’s chief diplomat spoke about the issue following a meeting of foreign ministers from the countries of the Visegrád Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the V4) and the Western Balkans (Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia-Hercegovina), at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Hungarian Community Party (MKP).

“The European Union can only be strong if the process of its enlargement begins”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined. With relation to Brexit, he said: “The number of the EU’s member states will be reduced for the first time in its history, but this process must be reversed”. “Although the pro-enlargement position is in a minority in Europe today, and the incumbent European Commission (EC) has set 2025 as the first possible date for further enlargement, Hungary is a pro-enlargement country, it regards the EC’s plan as nonsense, and hopes the new EC will change this standpoint”, he stressed.

“EU enlargement in the direction of the Western Balkans is in Hungary’s national security and national economic interests”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised. “EU enlargement in the direction of the Western Balkans could provide the region with a major level of stability. This is of key importance with relation to stopping mass illegal migration, since a stable Western Balkans will be able to better withstand migration pressure”, he explained.

With relation to the economic aspects of the accession of the Western Balkan countries, the Hungarian Foreign Minister pointed out that Hungary realised 3.8 billion euros in trade with the Western Balkan countries last year, and this process was successfully expanded by a further 9 percent during the first quarter of this year. “It would be in Hungary economic interests for the barriers deriving from the fact that Hungary is an EU member state, while the countries of the Western Balkans are not, to disappear”, he added. “The EC will be publishing its enlargement proposal, which should have been made public a long time ago, on Wednesday”, he told reporters. “We would like a decision on the commencement of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania to be made at the 18 June meeting of EU foreign ministers and ministers of EU affairs, and for Montenegro to be able to open its final negotiation chapter”, he added. Mr. Szijjártó then spoke about the results of the European Parliament (EP) elections held over the weekend.

Referring to the results achieved by the Hungarian Community Party (MKP), and the fact that the Upper Hungarian party gained strength with relation to the number of votes received, gaining twice as many votes as the joint Slovakian-Hungarian Most-Bridge party, he underlined: “It was proven at the elections that only the concept of ethnic representation has a future”. “This is proven by two facts relating to the elections: firstly, by the fact that the MKP received more votes than ever before at an EP election, and secondly by the fact that they received more votes that three parliamentary parties”, he explained.

Referring to the fact that the MKP finished just a few hundred votes short of an individual EP place, he highlighted: “The Hungarian Government represents the interests of all Hungarian peoples, and accordingly the MEPs of Hungary’s governing parties will also be representing Slovakian Hungarians”. President of the MKP József Menyhárt said with relation to opportunities for Hungarian politics in Upper Hungary following the EP elections, and reporting on the decision arrived at during Monday’s meeting of the party’s board: “A unified political representation can also only be organised on an ethnic basis”