The European Union has a historic obligation to boost the integration of the Western Balkans, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Wednesday, after talks with his Bosnia and Herzegovinan counterpart, Bisera Turković.
Abandoning that plan would seriously harm Hungary’s security interests, Szijjártó said at a joint press conference with Turković. Hungary wants to avoid at all cost “having to face security challenges similar to those in Ukraine from the southern border”, the foreign ministry quoted him as saying in a statement. He welcomed the EU decision to grant candidate membership to Ukraine and Moldova, and called it a “grave mistake” and “double standards” that Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to obtain that status. “EU membership is one of the few causes over which there is a general consensus in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said. The candidacy could have strengthened cross-party cooperation and national stability in that country, he said. Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia have sent a letter to the European Council, asking for the issue to be tabled in October, he said.
Szijjártó said the Hungarian government saw respectful dialogue with Western Balkan leaders as a priority, rather than engaging in “threats and sanctions”.