The European Union has a historic obligation to strengthen the integration of the Western Balkans, and abandoning this plan would seriously harm Hungary’s security interests, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said on Wednesday after talks with his Bosnian counterpart. , Bisera Turkovic.
Press conference with Turković
Szijjártó said in a joint press conference with Turković that Hungary wanted to avoid at all costs “having to face security challenges similar to those of Ukraine from the southern border”, the ministry said. in a press release. He welcomed the EU’s decision to grant candidate membership to Ukraine and Moldova, and called it a “serious mistake” and a “double standard” that Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina did not obtain this status.
“EU membership is one of the few causes on which there is general consensus in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said. The bid could have boosted cross-party cooperation and national stability in that country, he said.
Letters to the EC
Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia have sent a letter to the European Council, asking for the issue to be raised in October and for a decision to be taken by December, he said. Szijjártó said the Hungarian government considered a respectful dialogue with Western Balkan leaders a priority, rather than engaging in “threats and sanctions”, which he said was “not a way forward”. follow”.
With regard to the concrete measures taken by Hungary to help the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the EU, Szijjártó noted that the “integration expert” that Hungary had delegated to the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the liaison work of the Hungarian embassy with NATO in Sarajevo and the fact that the Hungarian contingent of 164 men is one of the largest EU peacekeeping mission in the country.
Bilateral trade between Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina reached 500 million euros last year and has already increased by 31% this year, he said. Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is about to open its fourth base in the country in Mostar, he said.
“Attacks on Hungary”
Responding to questions about accusations of racism made against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speech in Baile Tusnad (Tusnádfürdő), Romania, on Saturday, Szijjártó said the allegations were “absurd”. “I have worked in the immediate vicinity of Viktor Orbán for 16 years, and I am fully aware that the heart and soul of his policy is zero tolerance against anti-Semitism and racism,” he said.
Attacks on the Hungarian government have increased since the 2015 migration crisis, and “any similar statement is distorted”. He called Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice-president who has criticized the government, “one of the most harmful politicians in EU history”.
Regarding the purchase on the market of an additional 700 million cubic meters of natural gas beyond the contracted volume, which Hungary hopes to conclude to increase the supply for the winter, Szijjártó said that his “hopes are growing day by day … in the light of commercial and political negotiations in both directions”. we will not compromise on that,” he said.