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Peace and developments in the Western Balkans are in Hungary’s national security and economic interests, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. Budapest is providing comprehensive aid to the region’s countries, including Albania, and helping with their European integration processes, the minister said at a joint press conference held in Tirana with his Albanian counterpart Ghent Cakaj.
Szijjártó welcomed that the European Union “is finally starting negotiations with Albania”. The uptake of talks, he added, was also “a Hungarian success”. “Where the European Commission failed for eleven years, the Hungarian commissioner for enlargement succeeded in a few months,” he insisted. Hungary is calling on the commission to make up for “wasted time” by speeding up the accession negotiations and holding the first round of talks by the summer. “Otherwise, we’ll lose so much time that the credibility of the integration process will be undermined.” He noted that central Europe and the Western Balkans depend on each other closely. “It’s natural that if someone asks for help, we’ll give it.” “It’s vital that the capacity of Western Balkan countries to protect themselves is not weakened drastically,” he said, saying this would harm their ability to withstand the pressure of illegal migration. Accordingly, Hungary is providing Albania with hundreds of thousands of masks and 5,000 items of protective clothing, he said, adding that Hungary was able to do so thanks to importing more than 62 million masks from China, and four production lines for making masks imported to the country are ready to produce millions of masks.