Orban: Hungary "won't have anyone blocking Serbia's EU path"

Hungary "will not have anyone blocking Serbia's EU accession" - as "a country's accomplishments in the integration process should be the only benchmark."

Source: B92, Tanjug
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The two prime ministers address journalists in Belgrade on Monday (Tanjug)
The two prime ministers address journalists in Belgrade on Monday (Tanjug)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said this on Monday in Belgrade.

That is what must be decisive, rather than integration itself or "whether someone likes someone else or not," Orban said after a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, adding that he had offered assurances to his counterpart that this was Hungary's position and that it would "act accordingly," Tanjug reported.

Orban noted that he himself had experienced a time of high support for Hungary's EU accession, which he said had become absent later.

He said he was glad the two governments would hold a joint session this fall - not in Belgrade or in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, which is home to a large ethnic Hungarian community - "but in another part of Serbia."

"We want to bring our economies closer together and enable investors to get to know each other," Orban said, according to Tanjug.

Economy

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic underlined today that relations between Serbia and Hungary are progressing in all segments and thanked his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Peter Szijjarto on exceptional support which this country gives Serbia on its path to the European Union, the Serbian government reported on its website.

Bilateral cooperation between the two countries "is getting better and better," he said.

Vucic also stated that it was agreed to organize a new joint session of the two governments, most probably in a city in central Serbia.

He said that it was agreed to improve cooperation in all areas, and that the prime ministers of the two countries form a special working group with three to four members from each country.

"We need to analyze the solutions in each country, and to apply what proves to be better," he said.

According to Vucic Serbian Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Branislav Nedimovic and his associates will travel to Hungary for seven days in order to hold talks with Hungarian representatives at operational level.

"Our goal is to apply the experiences of Hungary in the field of agriculture, to have more factories for processing fruit and vegetables, but also to learn how to better spend funds," he said.

Trade between the two countries is growing, thanks to a large number of Hungarian companies, and the growth is by 12.7 percent higher than the previous year, according to Vucic, who also said he and Orban agreed that the two countries should develop "a common strategy for the future."

Migrants

Speaking about the migrant crisis, Vucic said that Orban reiterated "two or three times" he was "for the first time" not optimistic regarding the situation in the region, the Serbian government's website said.

"We need to get prepared for the fall, but also for the winter," Vucic said, noting that there are currently more than 5,000 migrants in the territory of Serbia, and adding: "We are ready to form teams that will work on the strategy and preparation for what awaits us in the future."

"Considering how loose the agreement between the EU, Turkey, and Germany is, we cannot rule out the possibility we might have the same situation as last year," Orban said, according to Tanjug.

The Hungarian prime minister then stressed that Hungarian and Serbian security forces will cooperate when it comes to the migrations issue, and that his country was "offering assistance to Serbia."

Orban told the news conference that the possibility of the migrant crisis deteriorating "cannot be ruled out" and that European countries "must be prepared."

Tanjug reported that Orban "stressed Hungary will do nothing regarding this issue that could jeopardize Serbia."

For his part, Vucic said that Serbia will continue with its "human approach and solidarity" toward the emigrants making their way from the Middle East and Asia toward Western Europe - but that this country "will not accept illegal migrants."

Speaking in this context, Vucic added that "Serbia today has more problems than Hungary - considering that now 81 percent of all migrants are economic migrants from Afghanistan."

For this reason, "the atmosphere is different compared to the beginning of the crisis," the prime minister asserted.

"I was not competent like some others have been. Orban is more experienced, and I'm convinced - and I say this without any cynicism - that he has had a more resolute stance than I. I wanted us to, as a government, show solidarity and humanitarianism, which we will continue to do going forward - but we cannot accept illegal migrants," Vucic said.

He also remarked that migrants in Serbia "have started making trouble for the first time":

"We've had problems with them near the (main Belgrade) Railway Station. We didn't want to make a fuss, but we solved this quickly. They fight among themselves. We caught them robbing two stores. Native residents do these things too, I'm not trying to say they (migrants) are worse - but the atmosphere is now different compared to the beginning of the crisis."

Vucic also said that Serbia is incurring "significant costs" dealing with the crisis, and that EU's financial aid in this context "cannot cover it - on the contrary, we are setting aside significant funds from the budget for this."

The prime minister also stressed that "Serbia will have no problem with Hungarian forces offering their assistance to Serbian police officers and soldiers on the (eastern) border with Bulgaria, the same way cooperation has been established on (Serbia's southern) border with Macedonia."

"We have no problem with that. We see Hungary as a friendly country and any technical, technological, human assistance is welcome," Vucic said.

Politics

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