Riga (MTI) – At an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Riga on Saturday, Hungary’s foreign minister called for accelerated EU enlargement and advances in Eastern Partnership.
Peter Szijjarto noted that the foreign ministers of the candidate countries also attended the meeting focusing on EU enlargement. The EU should speed up the integration of countries of the Western Balkans and cooperate more closely with Turkey, which aspires to become one of the world’s ten strongest economies, he said.
“Progress must also be made in the Eastern Partnership since gas supplied by Azerbaijan could solve central Europe’s energy security problem,” he added.
The crisis in Ukraine illustrates the importance of redesigning and advancing the partnership scheme, with specific programmes designed for the six countries involved rather than a generic rubric, he said. Closer EU ties will enhance their stability, he added.
The minister said he discussed Hungary’s participation in the western coalition fighting against the Islamic State with his German and Italian counterparts representing the two countries that will take over command in July. It is technically feasible for a 100-150 strong Hungarian unit to start serving in May, he said, adding that consultations with Hungarian parliamentary parties concerning the mission had yielded support in some quarters. “The two-thirds required to approve Hungary’s military contribution is feasible,” he said.