Bar, Montenegro, July 23 (MTI) – Montenegro’s NATO accession would serve both the economic and national security interests of Hungary, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with his Croatian, Polish and Romanian counterparts in Montenegro on Thursday.
The aim of the meeting was to express support for Montenegro’s NATO accession, Szijjarto told MTI by phone.
He said Europe has not faced as many challenges as it does today since the second world war, and any move taken towards strengthening the continent’s stability is important.
Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration is key to the stability of the western Balkans, Szijjarto said, adding that Hungary “knows all too well what the difference is between stability and instability in the western Balkans”. The minister said the region was “once again looking fragile” amid the latest global security challenges.
Szijjarto said Montenegro is ready for NATO membership, and pointed out that Hungarian and Montenegrin troops are currently on duty in Afghanistan. The minister said NATO was wrong when it rejected Montenegro’s accession in the past.
The minister said NATO membership is beneficial to a country’s economy, adding that Hungarian companies have significant investments in Montenegro, mainly in banking and tourism.
Szijjarto noted that Hungary would delegate NATO’s contact ambassador to Podgorica in 2015-2016.
Szijjarto said it would be unacceptable to maintain the expectation that social support for NATO accession should be above 50 percent. Szijjarto cited Hungary’s past experience showing that inviting a country to NATO boosts social support for accession and added that this would be especially true in the case of Montenegro which had been rejected once.