The incumbent European Commission has led astray the cause of the enlargement of the European Union. In doing so, it has greatly harmed Europe, Europe’s security and future, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told the Hungarian news agency MTI by telephone from Helsinki where he attended a meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union’s Member states.

Europe can only be strong if the number of its Member States increases, and if it is able to integrate the border territories. “We Hungarians know this only too well as we live in the neighbourhood of the Western Balkans, and we are perfectly aware that Hungary and the European Union, too, have a vested economic, strategic, security and political interest in the enlargement of the European Union, and the integration of the Western Balkans region,” the Minister pointed out.

He said during the term of the incumbent European Commission not only did a single new Member State not join the EU, but practically even the countries already in the candidate status were unable to make any progress towards accession, and the European Union likewise failed to admit new member candidates. This means that the incumbent European Commission has failed to enlarge the EU, and for the first time in its history, the number of the EU’s Member States will decrease (with Britain’s departure). This weakens the EU, and is contrary to its political and economic interests, he said.

“We expect the next European Commission to not decrease, but increase the number of Member States, to accelerate the enlargement of the EU in the direction of the Western Balkans, to open up all the accession negotiating chapters with Montenegro and Serbia, and to accelerate the EU integration of the Western Balkans countries. This is in Hungary’s national security, nation strategy and political interest,” Mr Szijjártó said.

He pointed out that Europe is facing further migration threats from the Western Balkans route. In Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan millions of refugees and illegal migrants are stuck. If they set out, they will set out for Europe via the Western Balkans route, he added.

“We have a vested interest in the Western Balkans being strong, and being able to stop this migration pressure. This, however, requires the integration of the Western Balkans, meaning the enlargement of the EU. This is what we expect from the next European Commission, now that the incumbent one has not been able to take a single positive step in this area,” the Minister stated.