“Hungary will continue to do everything possible in the interests of EU enlargement”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday in Tirana in a statement to the press follow a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

The Minister said the approach of the European Commission and certain Western European countries, as a result of which EU enlargement has stalled, is hypocritical and extremely damaging. “Hungary is clearly a committed supporter of EU enlargement in view of that fact that enlargement is in the interests of both Europe and Hungary”, he declared.

“EU enlargement, and particularly the integration of the Western Balkans, is in Hungary’s national security, national strategic and national economic interests”, he highlighted, pointing out that if the countries of the Western Balkans are not integrated, it may be more difficult to rely on them with relation to stopping a new wave of migration.

“The European Union’s enlargement policy is one of the EU’s most important policies”, the Minister declared, adding: “We would still like the EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement to be Hungarian, because that would be a better guarantee for the recommencement of EU enlargement”.

In his opening speech at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) forum in Tirana, Mr. Szijjártó also expressed his regret with relation to the fact that the European Union has postponed further enlargement, as a result of which Albania and North Macedonia cannot yet become members of the EU. “A larger EU is a stronger EU”, the Minister emphasised, adding: “Hungary will continue to do everything possible in the interests of EU enlargement”.

Following last week’s two-day EU summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced that although the majority of member states argued in favour of EU enlargement at the summit, there was no agreement with relation to the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, and accordingly the issue will be placed onto the agenda again in 2020.

According to Mr. Tusk, a decision on the issue of enlargement could be arrived at prior to the EU-Western Balkan summit planned for May of 2020. “The two countries in question are not at fault with relation to the fact that no agreement has come about between EU member states on the commencement of negotiations”, the Council President said. “The two countries are ready, but there are a few EU member states that are unfortunately not ready for the commencement of a new enlargement process”, he added.