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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the topic of EU enlargement will also be on the agenda of his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, noting that Hungary supported expanding the bloc. Orbán said Serbia was the key to enlargement in the Western Balkans. Talks with the country should be speeded up, he said, arguing that Serbia’s EU integration would guarantee stability in the region.
Merkel said Germany and Hungary were “following the same path”, highlighting the close links between the two countries’ economies. The Chancellor said her meeting with Orbán at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic last August had been a clear sign of the journey Hungary and Germany had made since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Merkel also noted Germany’s strong economic cooperation not just with Hungary but with all four of the Visegrad Group countries, saying that Hungary’s “very positive” economic growth was also a testament to the EU. She said it took a “smart” economic policy and investments for Hungary to reach a point where it now has to deal with a shortage of skilled labour instead of unemployment.
On the topic of the EU budget, she said the two countries had diverging positions, given that Germany is a net contributor while Hungary is a net beneficiary. At the same time, Germany “understands very well” the concerns of member states in need of EU funds, she added, alluding to Germany’s economically weaker eastern provinces.
Discussions will also embrace EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, Merkel said, adding that Hungary, given its location, has a particular interest in securing good relations with the region’s countries as well as their development. Security and defence policy issues are also on the agenda of the talks, along with migration, the Chancellor said, noting “common points and divergences” between the standpoints of the two countries.