Stabilisation and development in the Western Balkans is in Hungary’s national interest, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks in Budapest with Bujar Osmani, his North Macedonian counterpart.
“Whatever happens in the Western Balkans has an immediate security and economic impact on Hungary,” Szijjártó told a joint press conference. Hungary provides full support for the region’s EU and Euro-Atlantic integration, Szijjártó said, adding that delays in the region’s EU accession were regrettable. While Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia have joined NATO, the EU has made “zero effort” towards their integration, Szijjártó insisted, urging acceleration of that process. Unless the region’s integration speeds up, “somebody else will fill the void”, he said, adding that “it is time the EU took action”.
At the talks, the two foreign ministers signed agreements concerning higher education, joint courses for training diplomats, as well as a 115 million euro credit line to be provided by Hungary’s Eximbank to finance cooperation between businesses of the two countries. Szijjártó noted that at the talks the assignment of a group of 30 Hungarian police officers assisting North Macedonia’s border police had been extended until 2022.
Osmani thanked Hungary for its support for his country’s EU integration endeavours. He said his country would make every effort to join the EU, but it was regrettable, he added, that Bulgaria was not supporting their endeavours. Osmani said he hoped conditions would soon be in place to start accession talks with the EU.