The accession process of the Western Balkan states must be accelerated, European Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi told the Hungarian Parliament’s European Affairs Committee hearing on Friday, the V4 news agency reported.

Oliver Varhelyi said his primary goal has always been to contribute to Europe and strengthen European cooperation with his work. “I have made and will continue to make every effort to that end”, he said.

He emphasized that enlargement was of utmost importance for the European Union. “Europe will be poorer without enlargement as the continent won’t be able to take advantage of the political and economic opportunities offered by its immediate environment. In fact, it may even contribute to destabilizing it,” he said.

He said as a commissioner one of his most important and urgent tasks would be to enable the European Commission to come up with a proposal to start accession talks with Albania and Macedonia before next year’s summit in Zagreb. He also stressed that the enlargement and neighborhood portfolio was “full of challenges.”