PM Orbán in Belgrade: Enlargement should be the most important project of the EU

Hungary will provide Serbia with all the support it needs to become a member of the European Union, and if Hungary faces difficulties, it can count on Serbia, too, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, following talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Serbian president, Prime Minister Orbán stressed that Serbia plays a key role in the stability of the Western Balkans, and Hungary’s support for Serbia’s accession to the EU is in line with its support for the integration of the entire Western Balkans. The EU has a greater interest in Serbia’s membership than the country itself, the PM said.

Faith in the future of the EU is extremely low. The West has reached a very high level of development, and now there is a lot of uncertainty about whether there is a way forward from here, he said. The EU is therefore cautious about deciding on any big initiatives, the prime minister said, adding that this might be called “enlargement fatigue,” but if there is no enlargement, one of the most important neighboring regions will be unstable, and the EU will stagnate and eventually fall apart. PM Orbán reiterated that enlargement should be the EU’s most important project because that could give Europe a way forward. This was also the case for Central Europe, which greatly contributed to European unity.

Prime Minister Orbán also commented on migration, saying that although the epidemic has taken the issue of mass migration off the agenda, the problem still exists, and without the stability of the Western Balkans and its ability to defend itself against mass migration, Hungary will not be safe either. Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, he praised the vaccination campaign in both Hungary and Serbia, mentioning that the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates had been agreed upon and all border crossings have been opened, which is a major achievement on the part of both countries.

Hungarian-Serbian cooperation is based on the fact that “both countries want our children to live better than we do,” the PM said, and that “both countries think in terms of family and nation.” Serbia is also on a path worth following for the sake of the next generation, he added.

The PM listed railway cooperation, 16 major investments (even during the pandemic), and the interconnection of gas pipelines as examples of major successes in bilateral relations and highlighted that the past years have shown that a great success story is taking shape in Serbia.

Responding to a question from the press prior to the meeting, Prime Minister Orbán said the European Parliament and the European Commission want LGBTQ activists to be allowed into schools and kindergartens, which Hungary does not want. The debate is about who decides on how to raise our children, and according to the European treaties, this is clearly a national competence, the prime minister said. “The bureaucrats in Brussels have no business here,” he said, adding that “whatever they do, we will not let LGBTQ activists into our kindergartens and schools.”