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Dec 05, 2017

V4 and other EU member states agree to widen Schengen zone and include Western Balkans

Ministers from the V4 plus Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria agreed that the EU should expand the Schengen zone and include countries from the Western Balkans along with establishing energy security

The Visegrad Group and other EU member states have agreed that the European Union should expand the Schengen zone and include countries from the Western Balkans.

Ministers from the V4 plus Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria agreed on the plans in Budapest on Monday along with establishing energy security.

“We have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to making the EU stronger,” said Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “Here in central Europe we have proved that illegal migration can be stopped."

Minister Szijjártó added that by producing economic growth above the EU average, the region had greatly contributed to Europe’s rebound. He said central Europe has justifiable grounds for expectations when it comes to the EU, which include maintaining the Schengen zone and speeding up further EU integration as well as helping to guarantee central Europe’s energy security.

According to MTI, the foreign minister said it is important that the Schengen zone “function normally again”, but for this to happen, the external borders needed protection and rules within the zone must be respected.

He also said that the enlargement of the EU to include the Western Balkans should be speeded up as the best way to overcome tensions in the region. “Hungary sees political, economic and security risks should the EU fail to speed up enlargement, and Hungary will do its utmost to accelerate Serbia’s accession process,” the minister said.