OREANDA-NEWS  Hungary put forward three concrete proposals for the acceleration od the European Union enlargement process on Tuesday in Warsaw”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced at a joint press conference held by the Visegrád Group foreign ministers and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, following talks in the Polish capital that also included the foreign ministers of six Western Balkan countries.

“The countries of the Visegrád Group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, the V4) must be even more active in accelerating the European Union’s enlargement process”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed, justifying the new initiatives.

The first proposal is that the EU should open three chapters in its accession talks with Serbia before the end of the year, specifically the chapters on public procurement, education and research & development.

The second proposal is that in the case of Albania “the commencement of accession negotiation should not be postponed until the European Commission’s next report, i.e. until 2018”, but that they should begin “as soon as Albania is ready”.

Thirdly they should “stop the ugly game they have been playing with Macedonia and convince Greece to forego its veto right and not block the commencement of the enlargement process with Macedonia”, Mr. Szijjártó said. He called for the two countries to attempt to solve their problems within the framework of bilateral negotiations and for Greece to only use its right to veto “if parallel to the enragement talks they are unsuccessful in coming to an agreement on bilateral issues”.

According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, “a strange situation has come about in Europe” in view of the fact that the countries of Central Europe are advocating the further expansion of the European Union, while “Western Europe has developed enlargement fatigue and the country with the continent’s second largest economy is preparing to leave the EU”.

“The V4 are worried about the reports coming from Western Europe”, he said, referring to a previous statement by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker according to which there will be no EU enlargement within the next five years.
“The countries of the Visegrád Group do not agree with this”, the Minister stressed.

“We should be enlarging the EU immediately, not within five years”, he emphasised, adding that enlargement is one of the most important instruments that will lead to the EU gaining strength. “The deceleration of the enlargement process represents a security and economic risk”, he said.

“With regard to the Western Balkans we cannot leave the immigration crisis off the agenda”, Mr Szijjártó continued, declaring that the currently experienced easing of the crisis is not only the result of the agreement between the EU and Turkey, but “it at least as attributable to the decision by the countries of the Western Balkans to regain the ability and right to control their own borders”.

“We cannot know how long the EU-Turkey agreement will last or when a new wave of migration towards Europe will begin via the Western Balkans”, Mr. Szijjártó declared, stating that it was in Europe’s fundamental interests “for the countries of the Western Balkans to have the strength to defend their borders against a new wave of immigration”.

“The fastest and most efficient way to reinforce the Western Balkan countries is European integration”, he explained. “Accordingly, Hungary and the countries of the V4 are doing everything possible so that the European integration of the Western Balkan countries goes ahead as quickly as possible”, he stated.

At the press conference, Miroslav Lajcák, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, expressed his hope that a consensus on migration would be successfully reached before the new EU summit on 15-16 December. “Slovakia will present its proposal to the next EU President, Malta”, he said.

The essence of Slovakia’s proposal is that EU member states should participate in regulating migration according to conditions that are acceptable to every single member state and the whole of the EU. The European Commission is currently examining the principle of “efficient solidarity” put forward by Slovakia. Examples of this previously cited by Slovakian Interior Minister Robert Kalinák include the assistance provided by Slovakia to Austria concerning the housing of refugees, the fact that there are currently 1200 refugees living on the territory of Slovakia, who previously applied for asylum in Austria. “These people are awaiting the decision on their asylum request in Slovakia, and in this way those countries that are not the target countries of the migrants can “relieve the burden” on member states that are under the most pressure”, Mr. Kalinák said.

Tuesday’s summit in Warsaw is being attended by the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo), and by the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Slovenia and Italy. In Addition to Western Balkan EU integration and migration, the main topics of the meeting include energy security, hybrid threats, terrorism and organised crime.