"Let's open all chapters and have Serbia join EU in 2022"
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has urged the EU to speed up the process of accession of Serbia and Montenegro.Source: Tanjug
Speaking on Thursday ahead of a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, he assessed that the year 2022 could be realistic for EU's enlargement to the two Balkan countries.
Hungary's foreign minister also said he was disappointed by the recently unveiled enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans and that "integration and the enlargement process must be much, much faster."
"We respect the progress made by these two countries. We support the others in their efforts to be integrated into the EU, but as far as Serbia and Montenegro are concerned, 2022 is very possible, and they deserve a faster path of integration," Szijjarto said.
He stressed that the United States, Russia and Turkey all have their own "strategies" for the Western Balkans - while only the EU was being "extremely slow" in this regard.
"If we have serious intentions and if we want the EU to be the winner in the strategies and efforts, we need to be faster. Why not integrate them before 2025? Why wait another seven years to integrate these two countries?," asked the Hungarian minister.
Szijjarto noted that a large ethnic Hungarian community lives in Serbia, and that out of all of Hungary's neighbors, Serbia is the one that gives the most rights to minorities, and respects them "in the most European way."
"The processes for Serbia and Montenegro need to be speeded up. I see no reason not to open all (membership negotiations) chapters this year. Let's open all chapters, negotiate with them, and try to close the negotiations by 2022," he said.
The Hungarian foreign minister added that he expects "a long-term solution between Serbia and Kosovo which will mean stability and prosperity of the region."