At his talks with Dhurata Hoxha in Budapest, Minister of State Szabolcs Takács said the alternative migration routes that have recently developed on the Western Balkans route particularly justify that the EU pay more attention to close cooperation with the countries of the region.

He added that Hungary as an EU Member State which is a direct neighbour of the region has a vested interest in the political and economic stability of the Western Balkans, and Hungary also supports Kosovo’s efforts to join the European Union.

The Minister of State of the Prime Minister’s Office informed his partner that Hungary plays a key role in the protection of the EU’s external borders, and the goal is to move the line of defence against illegal migration as far south from the borders of the European Union – and consequently from the Hungarian-Serbian border section – as possible. According to Mr Takács, the immigration crisis which has afflicted Europe for years has also proved that cooperation with third countries – and as part of this, partnership with the countries of the Western Balkans – is not only useful, but also necessary in the interest of stopping migration and preventing its negative effects.

Therefore the Hungarian government supports the idea that the EU pay more attention to cooperation with the Western Balkans countries and to the acceleration of the region’s integration processes also in the debate on the future of Europe, the Minister of State added, agreeing with his partner that the strategic importance of the Western Balkans has increased in the past few years, and Kosovo is part of Europe also on account of its geographical location.

((Prime Minister’s Office))