“Hungary and Romania, the current President of the Council of the European Union, both support the acceleration of the European integration of the Western Balkans, because it is in both the economic and security interests of the EU”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed in an interview for Romanian Digi 24 television, a transcript of which was published on the channel’s website on Sunday.

Mr. Szijjártó was invited to give the interview on the station’s “Diplomat” show with relation to last week’s informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bucharest.

“If it depended only on the Romanian EU Presidency, he would have high hopes for the acceleration of the EU integration of the Western Balkans, but the majority of Western European countries instead share the opinion of the President of the European Commission (EC), according to whom there will be no enlargement within the next five years. However, the countries of Central Europe know from their own experience to what extent EU and NATO integration helped reduce tensions between them, and for this reason they would also like to accelerate the accession negotiations of Serbia and Montenegro”, the Minister explained.

“Serbia is of key importance from the perspective of Balkan stability. If we only open one or two chapters a year, it is anything but encouragement. Whereas we should instead encourage these countries and indicate to them that it is worth concentrating their energies on accession, because otherwise we will reinforce anti-European sentiment, which is something we would all like to avoid”, Mr. Szijjártó argued.

In reply to a question concerning the rule of law proceedings launched against Hungary and Romania, the Minister said that in his evaluation: “We will be able to conduct a rational and emotion-free debate on this kind of thing instead of ‘talking past each other’ when the European Commission once again operates in accordance with its intended function, once again as a body of technical character as the ‘guardian of the treaties’, and gives up on acting as a political organisation”.

“Currently, political attacks against Hungary are being put forward in the name of the EC by the same Frans Timmermans who is the top candidate of the pro-immigration European socialists, and who is playing one of the leading roles in the European Parliament (EP) election campaign”, he pointed out.

“Does anyone truly believe that if a country really violated the rule of law over a period of eight years, then it would be re-elected for a third time with a large majority, as we were re-elected last April? By launching these attacks, they are insulting the Hungarian voters, because they are sending a message that European institutions do not regard the electorate as being mature enough to evaluate events in their own country and decide on their own future”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“The attacks are in fact aimed at Hungary’s determined anti-immigration politics. Today, the greatest dividing line in Europe is not between East and West, but between approaches to migration, and accordingly the future of the continent will also be decided by whether the pro-immigration forces or anti-immigration forces will gain the majority at the upcoming EP elections”, he stated.

“The next European Parliament, the make-up of which will differ significantly from the current one, will have to find solutions to the true issues we are facing: migration, the fear of terrorism, Brexit and Europe’s energy supply”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in summary.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)