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The lack of a decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia by the competent EU ministers on Tuesday goes against the interests of the European Union, central Europe and Hungary, Peter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, has said. Szijjártó told a press conference that central European countries had a strong and united position in support of enlargement, but agreement had not been forthcoming due to resistance on the part of some western member states. “No physical or legal obstacle was in the way of making the decision to open accession negotiations today,” he said. Szijjártó said it was “shameful” that “tactical games” concerning timing were being played, adding that it was clear that delaying the release of the European Commission’s enlargement package had been deliberate, and time had now run out.
The minister said this state of affairs would harm the bloc’s security, competitiveness and economy, as well as undermining the credibility of both EU enlargement policy and governments open to integration. Szijjártó insisted that at EU foreign ministerial meetings it was common to “whine” about Russia, the Arab monarchies and China trying to wield influence in the western Balkans. But, he added, whether they succeeded or not depended on the EU and whether it was willing to boost its influence in the region. Hungary, he emphasised, would continue its strenuous efforts to help countries of the region in their integration endeavours.