The Visegrad Group expects the new European Commission to speed up European Union enlargement, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Monday.
After meeting his V4 counterparts in Prague, he said that “one of the greatest failures of the previous European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker was bringing the enlargement process to an almost complete halt”.
“This is why it is our expectation from the new European Commission to open a new era in EU enlargement, with special regard to the integration of the Western Balkans,” he said.
Szijjártó said that enlargement would be in good hands with Hungary’s commissioner Olivér Várhelyi.
“The V4 has agreed to support the Hungarian enlargement commissioner’s efforts to speed up integration,” he said, adding that the EU’s policy “of blocking enlargement” over the past years “goes entirely against the bloc’s interests”.
“The swiftest possible integration of the Western Balkans is in the European Union and Hungary’s political, security, economic and strategic interests as it helps the bloc to resist migration pressure effectively,” he said.
Szijjártó branded the outgoing Finnish EU presidency “a failure”, noting that it had not opened a single new negotiating chapter for enlargement during its six-month term ending on Dec. 31. This, he said, had never happened before. “Instead of focusing on their real job, the Finns spent their time lecturing central European countries,” he said.
Asked by MTI whether the meeting had addressed German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s new proposals on the acceptance of refugees, Szijjártó said the topic had not been raised individually. “But the V4’s position is clear,” Szijjártó said.
“We are not willing to admit any illegal migrants into central Europe. The success and security of central Europe is thanks to our pursuit of a firm anti-migration policy, and this will endure,” the foreign minister said.
The Visegrad countries insist on keeping their national identities and maintaining their cultural, religious and historical heritage, he said. “This is why central Europe is one of the most successful regions of the European Union today, and its engine of growth.”
“We do not tolerate any kind of pressure and we Hungarians insist on our right to decide whom to allow into our country and with whom we wish to live,” he added.