The European Union should speed up its enlargement process, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Hungary’s government believes that the only way for the EU to be successful in the long term is if it can look beyond its everyday issues and make sensible decisions on strategic matters, Péter Szijjártó told a meeting of Hungarian ambassadors after meeting Tudor Ulianovschi, Moldova’s minister of foreign affairs and European integration, in Budapest.
The EU faces serious challenges, Szijjártó said, arguing that the migration crisis had created parallel societies and brought an unprecedented threat of terrorism to the continent.
“The more members we have the stronger we are,” Szijjártó said, and noted that 2019 will be the first year when, with Brexit, the community will lose a member rather than grow. “This trend must soon be reversed,” he said, and added that Britain’s exit, in light of the country’s economic weight, will “not do good” to the community.
Szijjártó said that promoting the Eastern Partnership programme was a tool for integration, and added that Moldova was in the forefront of that scheme. He said that if countries in the east are stable, they can contribute to the fight against ideologies supporting terrorism, and added that those countries were also instrumental in ensuring energy security.
Referring to recent criticism from the international community concerning Moldova’s electoral system, Szijjártó said that “the basis for that criticism is questionable”.
“Hungary never provides other states with unwelcome advice, and never tells other countries what laws they should pass; it is their own decision which the Hungarians respect,” Szijjártó said.
The foreign minister also voiced his government’s disapproval of the EU’s delaying payment of a macro-financing subsidy of 100 million euros to Moldova.
Ulianovschi noted that Moldova has agreed on a free trade deal and gained visa-free status with the EU. It has also been hard at work on the implementation of an association agreement with the bloc, he added.
For Moldova, European integration is not an end, but a means to better the country, the minister said.