Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation Dr István Mikola attended and delivered a speech at a panel discussion concerning the future of Western Balkans states at the 6th Global Baku Forum held in Baku between 14 and 17 March 2018.
In his speech the Minister of State pointed out that Hungary is committed to promoting the Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries of the Western Balkans region, as well as to sharing our experiences regarding accession to the EU and NATO. He stressed at the same time that Hungary believes that a more ambitious enlargement plan than that envisaged by the European Union is also feasible. Therefore instead of the European Commission’s plan regarding the accession of Serbia and Montenegro in 2025, the Hungarian party takes the view that this could be achieved within a shorter time.
Mr Mikola said that in the case of Albania and Macedonia we are urging the commencement of EU accession talks in June 2018, and he mentioned that the possibility of membership must also be left open for Kosovo.
In addition to the enlargement of the EU, the Minister of State further stressed the importance of NATO accession aspirations. The Western Balkans enlargement process cannot slow down even after the accession of Montenegro as NATO membership can be one of the basic pillars of the region’s stability, with special regard to the complex security challenges the region is facing.
He highlighted that the next step of the enlargement process could be the granting of a NATO Membership Action Plan to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In addition to Euro-Atlantic integration, the Minister of State briefly covered the priorities of the Hungarian V4 Presidency concerning the Western Balkans, and pointed out that at the last Budapest meeting of the V4+Western Balkans formation the V4 countries reassured the Balkans countries of their strong support.
In conjunction with the Baku conference, Mr Mikola had talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev and opened the Petőfi exhibition organised as a joint project of the Hungarian Embassy in Baku and the Baku Metro, as part of which passengers may acquaint themselves with 12 poems by Petőfi translated into the Azerbaijani language posted at the metro station Memar Ajami 2 and in the interiors of metro carriages.
featured image: MTI