Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has strongly opposed the EU Commission’s plans to discuss Ukraine’s potential membership to the EU during the upcoming summit, labelling them as “unfounded and poorly prepared.”
Orban dismissed the notion of including Ukraine’s EU membership on the agenda for the December summit, asserting that it does not align with the interests of many member states, particularly Hungary.
“The Commission proposed that we start negotiations on Ukraine’s EU membership. But this does not concede with the interests of many member states, certainly not with Hungary’s,” said Orban during an interview with Hungarian TV.
“We’re in a position to dare to say it, no matter how much pressure is put on us. So this matter should not be put on the agenda, and the Commission should understand that it is their responsibility that the meeting was poorly prepared.”
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Orban went on to express his dissatisfaction with the Commission’s handling of the matter, urging them to withdraw the proposal and return only when a more agreeable agreement has been reached.
“Take it back, prepare it properly and come back when an agreement has been reached!” he blasted.
The pushback from Hungary adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing discussions within the EU about the potential expansion of the bloc. The issue of Ukraine’s membership has been a divisive topic, with varying opinions among member states about the timing and conditions for initiating negotiations.
Orban, reelected as the president of Fidesz for the 11th consecutive time, stressed that standing in the way of Ukraine’s EU accession would be a top priority for his government in the coming months.
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The admission of a new member into the EU requires unanimous approval from all existing member countries, granting Orban a powerful veto.
Some countries are already talking about ways to circumvent Hungary in the event of a veto, including through bilateral deals for military aid.
However, such moves could potentially undermine EU unity.
Critics speculate that Hungary’s resistance may be a strategic move to leverage concessions, particularly regarding billions in funding that Brussels has withheld over concerns about Hungary’s alleged failure to uphold rule-of-law and human rights standards.
Orban has also threatened to block an EU plan to provide a substantial four-year, €50billion aid package to Ukraine. His criticism centres on what he perceives as the violation of the rights of ethnic Hungarians in western Ukraine to study in their own language.
In September, Orban declared before the Hungarian parliament that his government would “not support Ukraine on any international issue” until the language rights of the minority are restored.
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