FM Szijjarto: Accelerating EU enlargement, energy security most important for CEI
Ohrid, June 15 (MTI) – The Central European Initiative should focus on accelerating EU enlargement to the Western Balkans and investments needed to achieve energy security, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at the CEI ministerial meeting on Ohrid, Macedonia on Monday.
Accelerating EU enlargement to the Western Balkans would not only generate economic results, but it would also help halt the Islamic State’s recruitment of foreign fighters, Szijjarto told MTI by phone.
The minister urged the EU to speed up accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro and to begin talks with Macedonia, adding that it was “unacceptable that while the European Commission has recommended [opening negotiations with Macedonia] six times, talks have yet to begin”.
Szijjarto said energy security is still a key issue in central Europe, adding that the supply of gas is not just a matter of energy policy but also a matter of national security. Since plans for the Nabucco and South Stream pipelines have been dropped, central Europe must now find other ways of achieving energy security, he said.
He said gas systems in the region should be linked and the necessary investments have to be made in order to enable reverse gas flows. Szijjarto called for investing in a strategic large capacity gas pipeline linking the West Balkans and central Europe, which he said will provide energy security.
Szijjarto said the ministers at the meeting all agreed on the matter of energy security, adding that all countries concerned are looking into their own opportunities.