The must-have newsletter about Hungary



Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó urged the initiation of genuine negotiations on the EU accession of Albania and North Macedonia. He argued that Europe faced extraordinary economic and security challenges, so stability and peace in the Western Balkans had never been more important. He said the EU now had a greater need for enlargement than the Western Balkans had a need for the EU “because the bloc is unfortunately weak and is getting weaker”. “We can only reverse this if the European Union begins to grow, because if it becomes larger, it will also be stronger, and this can only happen through enlargement,” he said. The reason for the failure of further enlargement so far, he added, was that neither Brussels nor some member states were honest on this matter, because in public they supported the process but behind closed doors they made more sceptical statements. “That is why we consider it unacceptable that the president of the European Council wants to postpone the date of admitting new members until 2030,” he said.
The minister asked what the community wanted to do during these seven years. “If NATO, which is a defence alliance, was able to include three Western Balkan countries, I think the European Union should be able to follow suit,” he said. “At every meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, I listen to the lamentations of others that the Russians, the Turks, and I don’t know who else are gaining ground for themselves in the Western Balkans. It would be easy to counter this by, for example, admitting them to the European Union.”.
Answering questions, Szijjártó confirmed that the government did indeed intend to buy Budapest Airport and that negotiations were under way, but it would be too early to disclose details. He said the ownership of the country’s largest airport was a strategic question.
On the ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership, he said it was a legitimate question for debate that the admission of the two countries would make the border between Russia and NATO several hundred kilometres longer, but nevertheless the government had submitted a proposal to parliament for approval of the ratification.