Budapest, August 31 (MTI) – The stability of southeastern Europe is a national security and economic interest, so Hungary is making every effort to support Serbia’s European Union accession talks, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday.
After talks with Serbia’s EU integration minister Jadranka Joksimovic, Szijjártó said that any attempt by EU institutions or member states to slow down Serbia’s integration process is “unacceptable”. Serbia has fulfilled all the conditions for opening accession talks, he added.
Szijjártó said Hungary would call on the EU institutions to complete the Serbian accession talks by 2020 at the latest.
The minister said that the Carpathian Basin would be a happier place to live in if all of Hungary’s neighbours did as much for their ethnic Hungarian minorities as Serbia did.
As the situation in the western Balkans is still a matter of concern, stabilising the region through integration should be a primary task for the European Union, Szijjártó said.
The region’s instability, and its resultant failure to halt the migration wave, would pose an “incredible danger” for Hungary. He noted that the European institutions had passed eight decisions that encouraged “people in undoubtedly difficult situations” along Europe’s southeastern borders to leave for this continent, he said.
Szijjártó reiterated that Hungary would not let anyone enter its territory and that of the Schengen zone and the European Union unchecked.
The minister said that the fence erected along the Hungarian-Serbian border last year was meant to keep out those who wanted to enter Hungary “illegally, by violating our sovereignty and borders.” He noted that it was not the Serbs who wanted to cross the border illegally and en masse.
Szijjártó said Hungary would open new border crossing points on the Serbian border starting next year. Hungary will build border stations for those who want to enter the country legally and fences for those who want to enter with fraudulent intent, the minister said.
Szijjártó said he and Joksimovic also discussed intensifying joint oil and gas mining and extraction operations on the Hungarian-Serbian border to improve energy security.
He said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will visit Belgrade next Monday and the Hungarian-Serbian inter-governmental committee overseeing the revamp of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line will meet in Serbia on Friday.
Joksimovic said Hungary has proven that it is looking after the interests of the western Balkans and supports Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
She said maintaining good relations with Hungary was also important because there is a significant number of ethnic Hungarians living in Serbia and the government aims to involve them in the country’s political life. Serbia is doing its best to improve the situation of its ethnic Hungarian minority as this group makes up one of the country’s largest ethnic communities, she said.
Regarding Hungary’s migrant quota referendum scheduled for Oct 2, Joksimovic said Serbia understands Hungary’s interests. She said the EU should adopt a clear policy for patrolling its external borders to ease the migration pressure on the western Balkans route. This would also improve Serbia’s situation, she said.
Joksimovic said Hungary and Serbia would hold a joint governmental meeting in the autumn.