Distant EU Prospects for Ukraine
Hungary’s premier declared on Saturday that Ukraine remains “light years away” from EU accession, emphasizing potential obstruction to Kyiv’s aspirations.
During the biannual congress of the nationalist Fidesz party, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán voiced his intent to “resist” talks slated for mid-December on Ukraine’s formal invitation to EU membership negotiations.
Acknowledging the unanimity requirement for admitting a new country, Orbán wields a potent veto, a power he’s poised to exercise.
Reelected as Fidesz’s president for the 11th consecutive time, Orbán underscored obstructing Ukraine’s EU entry as a top government priority.
“Our task will be to rectify the misguided promise for negotiations with Ukraine, given its current substantial distance from the European Union,” Orbán asserted.
While the EU Commission endorsed initiation of accession talks with Ukraine, citing Kyiv’s institutional strength, Orbán, a key EU ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, contends that negotiations should not commence with a country at war. He argues Ukraine’s membership would reshape the EU’s fund distribution system.
Critical Voices and Speculations
Critics speculate Hungary’s resistance aims to secure concessions related to withheld Brussels funding, expressing concerns about Budapest’s rule-of-law and human rights standards.
Orbán also threatens to impede a 50 billion-euro aid package to Ukraine proposed by the EU over four years.
He critiques Ukraine for alleged violations against the rights of ethnic Hungarians in western Ukraine, particularly their language study rights. In September, Orbán pledged non-support for Ukraine on international issues until minority language rights are reinstated.
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