Hungary will be “bent on” accelerating Serbia’s European Union accession, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his address to a Hungarian-Serbian business forum in Budapest on Friday.
The Balkan region must be integrated into the EU, Orbán said, and insisted that the EU’s target to complete the process by 2025 was a “very distant” date.
The integration of the Balkan states will shift Europe’s economic centre, from the West to central Europe. Concerning Hungary in particular, he said that the country had good chances to retain its competitiveness through secure energy supplies and competitive energy prices.
Orbán announced that Hungary could soon sign an agreement on the import of an annual 4 billion cubic metres of gas from Romania over 15 years. Three Hungarian-owned companies are in the top three spots in a tender for the gas, he said.
From 2021 or 2022, the era of the Russia’s gas monopoly in Hungary is expected to end, as more than half of the gas the country consumes will come from Romania, he said.
Orbán noted that the interconnector allowing the deliveries is completed on the Hungarian side, but is still under construction in Romania.
Ana Brnabic, the Serbian prime minister, said that once a full member of the EU, her country “will not wait for the subsidies but make efforts to strengthen the community”.
Brnabic said that the 2025 target date for Serbia’s accession, as set by the EU, was acceptable and pledged that her country would meet the entry criteria.
She highlighted Hungary as “the most committed supporter” of Serbia’s EU integration.
Referring to the Budapest-Belgrade railway project, Brnabic said it would be a crucial component in linking the infrastructure of Serbia and Hungary, which she said was also vital in the integration process. She added that preparations for further transportation projects were under way.
Featured image: MTI