Fidesz MEP Kinga Gál told the European Parliament’s plenary session that strategic enlargement on the Western Balkans was vital to long-term energy security and to handling the migration crisis. “The politicised tightening of conditions to EU integration is sending the wrong message, and may sway candidate countries like Serbia,” she said. Fidesz MEP Andor Deli said the EU “can’t afford to put off the integration of the Western Balkans any longer.” He insisted the European Parliament’s decisions had contributed to weakening the EU’s influence in the region. The EU will not increase trust and influence by making conditions to integration stricter, he said.
Várhelyi called enlargement the “most effective tool of EU foreign policy, a key contributor to the continent’s security.” EU unity and good relations with neighbours are indispensable in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said. The bloc’s enlargement strategy should be adapted to the situation, and allow accession to proceed if the candidate countries are fulfilling requirements, he said.