International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Szijjarto- Kosovo shouldn’t be condition for Serbia’s EU membership

February 13, 2024

Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjártó told Croatia’s Hina news agency that Serbia's EU membership should not be conditional on the Kosovo issue.

Szijjártó said Serbia „can join the European Union easily tomorrow“ and that since it is „the biggest and strongest country of the Western Balkans“, stability in the region cannot be achieved without it „on board.“ „Alienating Serbia is the worst possible tactic,“ he noted.

„I do believe the approach of the bureaucracy in Brussels should change towards Serbia and that instead of this lecturing mode, they should come to an eye-to-eye mode“. Szijjártó is against tying Serbia’s EU membership to the normalisation of its relations with Kosovo, saying that it is not „fair“ because it does not depend only on Belgrade.

Szijjártó explained Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s frequent anti-Western and anti-European rhetoric as due to „a feeling of disappointment“ with the lack of progress towards EU membership despite the benchmarks that have been met.

He said the EU was „an unfinished project“ as long as the Western Balkan countries „are not allowed to be integrated“. „We do believe that now the European Union needs the Western Balkans more than the Western Balkan countries might need the membership,“ he added.

The EU „is suffering from a declining competitiveness, from war, from fatigue, from losing its way in global politics,“ Szijjártó said, adding that enlargement would give it „freshness“ and „impetus“.

During its EU presidency in the second half of the year, Hungary will put „a lot of emphasis on the acceleration of the enlargement,“ he said.

Hungary is „absolutely interested“ in the Western Balkans „to be stable,“ Szijjártó said.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/szijjarto-kosovo-shouldn-t-be-condition-for-serbia-s-eu-membership/

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