Hungarian President János Áder pressed for the speedier integration of the Western Balkan countries with the European Union at a summit of the heads of state of the Visegrad Group in Szekszárd, southwestern Hungary, on Saturday.
The situation in the Western Balkan countries gives cause for concern,
which is why action must be taken, and the best way to prevent conflict is to accelerate the region’s integration with the EU, Áder said at a joint press conference.
He noted unresolved disputes involving borders, minorities and religion in the region, adding that pressure caused by migration as well as the growing influence of radical Islam are further problems.
Czech President Milos Zeman said
that radical Islam, financed by Saudi Arabia, was spreading in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which does not help the country’s development.
He noted that not all EU countries had recognised independent Kosovo and added that he also shares this reservation.
Slovak President Andrej Kiska said there was a long history of tension between the six countries of the Western Balkans but they are linked by their desire to become members of the EU. Bosnia and Herzegovina “needs to see the light” and accept that the EU is counting on the country to implement necessary reforms, he added.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said it should be clearly stated that the EU is open to states that are prepared for accession. Deadlines are necessary to give societies the ambition to achieve a developed economy, fight against corruption and build democratic institutions.
The heads of state of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia started the two-day meeting on security policy and the opportunity for cooperation in the areas of circular economy and information technology on Friday.
Áder warned against the environmental as well as economic dangers of a linear economy in which resources are used to produce things which are then disposed of.
What we consider waste now should rather be seen as a resource, he said.
The heads of state of the Visegrad Four participated in a harvest in Szekszárd.
Environment ministers of the Visegrad group and delegations from Slovenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Croatia met for a three-day conference in Miskolc, in northern Hungary, on Wednesday.