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Central European countries fully support Hungary’s policy of promoting the EU integration of Western Balkan countries during its EU presidency in the second half of the year, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Ljubljana on Tuesday.
Security must be reinforced and the European Union needs new vigour, and enlargement will be centre stage during Hungary’s presidency starting in July, Péter Szijjártó told a press conference after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the C5 format of the Central European countries, Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. Integrating countries of the Western Balkans could energise the EU, and central European member states should take on special responsibility accordingly, a ministry statement quoted Szijjártó as saying. He added that whereas they openly and genuinely backed enlargement, others elsewhere merely gave the impression of doing so in public while actually blocking the process. Genuine supporters, he said, were in the minority, and so he urged central European countries to join forces and “promote the cause”. He said all sides at the meeting supported Hungary’s related goals. Szijjártó noted that the five Western Balkan countries had been waiting to join the EU “for 14 years and 10 months on average”.