Hungary criticizes EU over failure to agree enlargement talks
Hungary's foreign minister on Monday attacked Finland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, for failing to achieve the further enlargement of the bloc with the entry of Western Balkan countries. Finland, as EU president, was responsible for a "huge failure" on enlargement, Peter Szijjarto said after a meeting with his Czech, Polish and Slovak counterparts in Prague.
Hungary's foreign minister has criticized Finland, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the 28-nation European Union, and the EU's former executive branch for the failure to push on with enlarging the bloc.
Peter Szijjarto said Monday that "one of the most significant failures" of the outgoing European Commission was the EU's failure in October to agree on launching membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.
Finland, as EU president, was responsible for a "huge failure" on enlargement, Peter Szijjarto said after a meeting with his Czech, Polish and Slovak counterparts in Prague.
"They are the first presidency which was unable to open one single (negotiating) chapter with any of the candidates -- it hasn't ever happened before," said Szijjarto said.
The Finnish presidency, he added, "made a huge failure in this regard as well."
At a summit in October, EU powerhouse France sparked anger when it blocked the start of enlargement talks with North Macedonia and Albania.
Talks with both countries had been championed by Germany and were broadly supported by the EU Commission and other members.
"We find that postponing enlargement and putting obstacles in the way of enlargement is a policy which goes totally against the European interests," said Szijjarto.
"Montenegro has only one chapter to go but the Finnish presidency was unable to open it," he added.
Hungary's representative in the new European Commission holds the enlargement and neighbourhood portfolio. Szijjarto said enlargement was "in good hands" with Oliver Varhelyi.
"As central European countries living in the neighbourhood, we understand a little bit better than other members of the EU how important it is for the EU from the economic, political, strategic and security perspective to go forward with enlargement," he added.
Szijjarto was talking Monday in Prague after meeting his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Together the four countries form an informal grouping known as the Visegrad Group and support enlargement.
Szijjarto says he hopes the new commission will push on with enlargement.