The European Union and Serbia have a mutual interest in the latter joining the bloc, and the time has come to open a new accession chapter, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said on Wednesday.
Meeting Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Jadranka Joksimovic, the European integration minister, in Belgrade, Szijjártó said the fact that no accession chapter had been opened in the first half of 2021 was “unacceptable”.
“The Serbs are doing well,” he said.
“European Union enlargement is a cornerstone of Hungarian foreign policy,” he said, referring to the importance of “security, peace and development in the Western Balkans”.
“The best and quickest way to achieve these aims is through European integration,” the minister added.
He said that support for enlargement in Brussels tended to be rhetorical rather than pro-active.
European interests such as staunching migration, economic growth and expanding its trading footprint would be served by admitting Serbia to the club, Szijjarto added.
It is likely, he said, that new accession chapters would be opened during the Slovenian presidency as Slovenia was “clearly pro-enlargement”.
The minister pledged Hungary’s full support to the Slovenian EU presidency in its bid to speed up Serbia’s accession process.
Hungary and Serbia have mounted the most successful response in the economy and health care to the coronavirus pandemic and the economies of both countries have remained strong, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Friday.
Szijjártó said after a meeting of the Hungarian-Serbian economic mixed committee in Belgrade that neither Serbia, nor Hungary “viewed the issue of vaccines as an ideological or geopolitical issue but as a tool to save people’s lives”.