Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto warned that Europe risks losing the Balkan countries unless it allows the opening of EU accession talks soon. The warning comes as the ministers in the European Council again failed to reach agreement to allow Macedonia and Albania to open accession talks, as Bulgaria blocks Macedonia with its historic and national identity demands.

There is a competition over the integration of the Balkans and exerting influence over the region. The EU is best placed to win, and the countries in the region have chosen the European path. But the trans-Atlantic direction of the region can not be taken for granted, Szijjarto warned, while calling for the accession talks with Macedonia to be opened as soon as possible. “If we don’t do that, the EU risks to undermine the stability and security in its surrounding”, Szijjarto added.

Hungary, which has also nominated the EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, is a strong supporter of allowing Macedonia to open its EU accession talks, as well of having the other countries in the region advance along the same path. If this doesn’t happen, Szijjarto warned, the EU could lose the Balkans like it lost the United Kingdom.

During the meeting of the EU foreign ministers, Szijjarto also met with VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski, who is in Luxembourg to push for the opening of accession talks with Macedonia.