Hungary Pledges to Become the Most Pro-Enlargement EU Presidency of All Time

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Hungary will be the most pro-enlargement European Union presidency of all time, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, said in Brussels, stressing that the focus during accession talks would be on the “actual performance” of candidate countries rather than “bowing to political pressure.”

While Belgium holds the EU presidency until June this year, Hungary is scheduled to assume the role from July until December 2024, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

During a press conference after a meeting of the EU-Gorgia Association Council, the Minister said that Hungary won’t allow the accession of certain states to be artificially tied to one another. Szijjártó stressed that the country would neither permit the accession processes of any of the better-performing countries to be taken hostage by those that are falling behind.

We will put the focus on actual performance during the accession talks, rather than bowing to some kind of political pressure which, in fact, comes from outside players, non-EU countries and NGOs.

Szijjártó

The Minister stressed that during the EU presidency, Hungary will want to help Serbia open new accession chapters, Montenegro close multiple chapters, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova to begin actual meaningful negotiations.

According to Szijjártó, the bloc needs new member states that can bring much-needed momentum and freshness, mentioning Western Balkan countries, Georgia and Moldova as examples.

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade also stressed that the EU should accelerate the integration process of the Western Balkan countries to forestall the spread of the influence of other states, taking into account Russia.

However, in December last year, the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, said Ukraine’s membership to the EU is “a bad decision which Hungary wants no part in.”

Minister Szijjártó said the enlargement of the bloc should be about expanding the possibility of stability and peaceful progress beyond the current territory of the EU rather than bringing the threat of war into the bloc.

He argued that the accession process should be “grounded in reality” during Hungary’s presidency, with candidate states being required to meet “sensible expectations.”

Regarding Ukraine’s accession process to the EU, the Minister said that the next step, setting up a negotiation framework, needs unanimous decisions. Therefore, Hungary can also represent its interests, in particular, those regarding the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians.

According to him, Ukraine can say that the rights of the Hungarian minority are respected if they have restored the 2015 state of affairs.

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