“Hungary not only supports the enlargement of the European Union, but regards it as one of the most important EU policies, and it wishes to continue to work in close cooperation with Albania to curb illegal immigration”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

Mr. Szijjártó said it was regrettable that the commencement of negotiations on the accession of Albania and North Macedonia to the European Union were postponed at last week’s meeting of EU foreign ministers. The politician said the European Commission’s decision concerning the fact that we will have to wait until 2025 for the accession of any new member states was incomprehensible. “We regard this as unacceptable. There are still 2000 days until 2025, and there are no issues that cannot be discussed and sorted out within this period of time”, Mr. Szijjártó said, pointing out that according to Central European experience the EU is the best instrument for easing local tensions, and in his opinion the same would be true for the Western Balkans.

“The Western Balkans is at the forefront of Hungarian foreign policy, and the Hungarian delegation arrived at last week’s EU summit in Luxembourg representing the position that accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should begin immediately”, he added. “The arguments against, including the fact that there wasn’t enough time, were ridiculous in view of the fact that Albania has been a prospective member for five years now, and all negotiating parties new full well what the schedule of accession negotiations would look like”, Mr. Szijjártó said. He said that Hungary has already been providing two experts to the Albanian Foreign Ministry to help with the integration process, and this will continue to be the case in future. The Minister also said that the greatest challenge facing the European Union continues to be migration; immigration pressure still exists and represents a security risk. “We can see how large numbers of migrants are still trying to get into Europe via the Western Balkans; we can see the numbers, according to which over 500 illegal immigrants have arrived in Albania via Greece this year, and we regard it as important that Albania should continue to guard its borders decisively and securely”, Mr. Szijjártó said.