Skopje, December 2 (MTI) – Hungary supports Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO, as the country’s stability is crucial for the security of not just the western Balkans but all of central Europe, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Friday.
In the event of another migration wave hitting Europe, Macedonia would be the southernmost country that could help stop the migrant wave, Péter Szijjártó told MTI on the phone from Skopje, where he is on an official visit.
Szijjártó said it was unknown how long the EU-Turkey migration deal would last, adding that if a new migration wave were to reach the western Balkans, “Macedonia would be the first [country] we could count on.”
The minister urged Brussels to begin accession talks with Skopje.
Hungary also asks Greece not to veto the opening of accession talks this time, he said. “We believe that it is not right that an EU member state should continuously veto the opening of accession talks with a candidate country because of their bilateral disputes,” Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó stressed that Hungary will continue to assist Macedonia’s efforts to protect its southern borders.
The minister also urged respect for Macedonia’s role in NATO missions as a non-member of the alliance.
Szijjártó said trade turnover between Hungary and Macedonia increased by 40 percent to over 150 million euros over the first eight months of the year compared with the same period in 2015. The value of Hungarian exports to Macedonia grew by 25 percent over the same period, he added.
He noted that the two countries were preparing to launch direct flights between their capitals next April.
Szijjártó is scheduled to take part in an election campaign event of Macedonia’s conservative ruling VMRO-DPMNE party on Friday evening. Macedonia will hold early parliamentary elections on Dec. 11.