The Czech, Hungarian and Slovak Foreign Ministers met in the Czech capital as part of the international political forum Prague European Summit and agreed that the four Visegrád countries will urge the acceleration of the integration of the Western Balkans countries into the European Union.

The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs did not attend the meeting due to internal political events in Warsaw.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told correspondents of the Hungarian News Agency MTI and the Hungarian Television in Prague that “the Visegrád countries urge the acceleration of the Western Balkans region’s EU integration by European institutions, also with regard to the fact that the flow of migration has extremely grave impacts on the Western Balkans region. In a situation like this, the tensions induced by migration and instability may lead to very serious and dramatic changes in the region”.

The Foreign Ministers of the V4 and the Western Balkans countries will talk about the reinforcement of cooperation on Friday in Prague. The migration crisis will be at the centre of the meeting. At the same time, the attendees will sign an agreement on the establishment of a Western Balkans Fund, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

“The purpose of the fund will be to provide aid for the countries of the region with a view to the consolidation of civil society and human relations in the States of the Western Balkans”, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said earlier. According to Sobotka, the Western Balkans Fund has been set up based on the model of the Visegrád Fund which has worked successfully since 2000.

“It is evident that European integration is the quickest and most effective way for the Western Balkans region to become stable”, Mr Szijjártó pointed out.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

He stated: the V4 agree on this issue. “We propose that the accession talks with Montenegro should be accelerated, and we should open at least one chapter of negotiations with Serbia before the end of this year. If we did not succeed in opening a single chapter of negotiations, it could shake the Serbs’ faith in the process of enlargement and could negatively affect the authenticity of the entire process.

We also urge that there should be a clear schedule regarding the accession talks in the case of Macedonia and Albania as well. We find it unacceptable that the accession talks with Macedonia have not started for years”, the Hungarian Minister explained the position of the Visegrád countries.

The V4 will request Greece not to exercise its right of veto and not to prevent the commencement of accession talks with Macedonia, Mr Szijjártó said. The Foreign Ministers of the Visegrád countries also attended a panel discussion on Thursday afternoon as part of the Prague European Summit where they presented their views regarding the future development of the European Union.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)