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It is evident from the history of the past few years that enlargement lies in the interest of both the EU and North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, “and if it comes to that”, Albania, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Prague, after attending a summit of the V4 and Western Balkan states. Admission of the Balkan countries is not a burden on, but an opportunity for, the European Union which would then become stronger, Orbán said, assuring the countries in question of Hungary’s support.
Concerning the EU’s next financial framework, he said that new common policies may be opened but funds earmarked for older policies should not be cut on this pretext. Hungary does not oppose generating new common sources of revenue if the EU wishes to finance new policies and maintain current ones, he said. Orbán said the member states needed a greater deal of flexibility in terms of how EU funds are used.
In response to a question, Orban said Trócsányi’s selection for commissioner for EU enlargement was good news for Serbia. He added that when Hungary held the EU’s rotating presidency in 2011, it handled the difficult issues in the last phase of Croatia’s accession effectively. “I have no doubt that Serbia will greatly contribute to the EU’s economic performance,” Orbán said, adding that “solving” Serbia’s integration would speed up and “solve” that of the whole region. Many issues have to be addressed before accession, “but they are all manageable,” he said, citing the issue of Kosovo as an example.
Regarding migration, Orbán said western Europe was building a “multicultural immigrant society” while central Europe avoided doing so. “Our countries are not immigrant societies”. The question, he said, was how those two worlds can coexist. Up to now, the response of the European Commission was to “force central Europeans to assimilate … and we resisted”. “Hopefully, the new body will realise that the issue is about managing the coexistence of two different approaches to life.”
“We trust the new commission will show us more respect … and will use a new tone, promoting agreements rather than using force,” he said. “In that case, Europe has a future, and we are looking forward to a fantastic five years. But if the policy of using force against us continues, we’ll have to resist and we’ll all be where we are now.”
The prime ministers of the Visegrad Group held a separate meeting on the sidelines of the meeting, and attended a working lunch with the leaders of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.