Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told the Strategic Forum, held at Lake Bled, Slovenia, on Tuesday that the European Union is in need of "rational reforms" and must view enlargement as a priority, as the integration of the Western Balkans would strengthen the bloc considerably.
Minister Szijjártó told a panel discussion that the EU was “in bad shape”, with its security, economy and energy supplies weakened. The situation was, he said, the result of “a series of failed measures and a lack of action.” Regarding security measures, Szijjártó said that while the EU usually urged peace talks in remote conflicts, now they had chosen a different path. “If someone stands up for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, they are condemned and branded Russian spies, pro-Kremlin propagandists and friends of Putin,” he said. Meanwhile, the EU’s share of the world’s GDP has slipped from 22% in 2010 to 17% today, he said. At the same time, China’s slice of that pie has grown from 9% to 18%, he added. He slammed the notion of “risk control” by severing economic ties with China. The risk would be to cut Europe off from a rapidly growing economy instead of cooperating with it, Szijjártó said. Economic cooperation with China could greatly contribute to economic growth, he added.