Visegrad countries call for EU enlargement in Western Balkans

2017-10-12 02:01:19 GMT2017-10-12 10:01:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Photo taken on Oct. 11, 2017 shows the general view of a meeting of foreign ministers of Western Balkans in Budapest, Hungary. The Visegrad countries, namely Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, have strongly made a stance in favor of the enlargement of the European Union (EU) regarding the Western Balkans on Wednesday following the meeting of the foreign ministers of the region. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi) Photo taken on Oct. 11, 2017 shows the general view of a meeting of foreign ministers of Western Balkans in Budapest, Hungary. The Visegrad countries, namely Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, have strongly made a stance in favor of the enlargement of the European Union (EU) regarding the Western Balkans on Wednesday following the meeting of the foreign ministers of the region. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)

BUDAPEST, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Visegrad countries, namely Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, have strongly made a stance in favor of the enlargement of the European Union (EU) regarding the Western Balkans, here Wednesday following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the region.

The acceleration of Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans region is a security and economic interest for all of Europe, said Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto.

Szijjarto emphasized the integration of the Western Balkans was best supported by Central European and South-Eastern European countries because they lived "here in the neighborhood."

"Guaranteeing the security of the Western Balkans is accelerating the EU and NATO accession processes," he underlined.

He said if a new wave of migration started from the south, it could only be stoppable by stable and strong Western Balkans countries. But if the Western Balkans were unstable, a wave of migration would "come to the southern edge of Hungary in no time."

"Every EU integration effort should be supported," Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said.

Slovak State Secretary Ivan Korcok said: "The members of the Visegrad Cooperation will guarantee that the Western Balkan countries always remain parts of Europe."

"The Visegrad countries are clearly open to enlargement, since neither the EU nor NATO can be complete without the Western Balkans," according to Jakub Durr, deputy minister of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Czech Republic.

Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said Western Balkan countries needed to accelerate reforms to build strong institutions, "as this could lead to the region's rise and European integration."

"The security and integration of the Western Balkans would be the priority of the Bulgarian EU Presidency in the first semester of 2018," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva announced. "If the Western Balkan states are not part of the EU, the European project will not be completed," she warned.

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