Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán Calls Kiev’s Quick Ascension to the EU ‘Unrealistic’ – Budapest Demands Right of Ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine to Use Their Language in School

Once again, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán  is putting his national interests ahead of the plans of the EU.

This time, it involves the prospects of Ukrainian ascension to the European Union.

Orbán publicly cast doubt on the prospect of the European Union beginning negotiations any time soon for Ukraine to join the bloc, adding that it was ‘unrealistic’ to launch the process with a country that’s at war.

Ukraine was granted EU candidate status last year, in a rapid decision for the EU, known for its slow approach to expansion.

The European Council expects to begin negotiations on Ukraine’s accession in December.

Orbán reminded that an unanimity among the EU’s 27 members is required in order to admit a new country into the bloc.

The Hungarian parliament would also have to give the green light to Ukraine, which has ambitions to join the EU within two years.

Independent reported:

“’When I’m in the chamber, I don’t feel the insurmountable desire for the Hungarian parliament to vote for Ukraine’s membership of the European Union within two years. So I would be careful with these ambitious plans’, Orbán said.”

The eastern European country has a rocky relationship with the EU, having been sanctioned by for alleged rule-of-law violations and corruption.

Hungary is in a conflict with Kyiv over the rights of an ethnic Hungarian minority in western Ukraine, and has also maintained close relations with Russia.

“On Friday, Orbán said the EU ‘will have to answer very long and difficult questions until we get to the point where we can even decide whether to start negotiations’.

‘When we are discussing the future of Ukraine in Brussels in the autumn, we will not be able to avoid the question of whether we can think seriously about the membership of such a country’, he said. ‘Can we start negotiations with a country that is in a territorial war? We do not know the size of this country’s territory since it is still at war, and we do not know what its population is, because they are fleeing. … To admit a country without knowing its parameters would be unprecedented’.

On Monday, Orbán told the Hungarian parliament that his government would ‘not support Ukraine on any international issue’ until the language rights of the Hungarian minority in western Ukraine are restored.”

The EU countries will decide in December whether Ukraine will begin accession negotiations, but that would require the unanimous backing of all 27 members.

EU Diplomats have anticipated that Hungary may be an obstacle to the swift moving of the process.

Reuters reported:

“‘So I think we need to answer very long and difficult questions until we get to actually deciding about the start of accession talks’, he said.

Commenting on Orban’s remarks, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said it was positive ‘that the Hungarian Prime Minister is concerned about Ukraine’s accession to the European Union’.

‘We would like to inform that Ukraine has not changed its territory within its internationally recognized borders’, the ministry added.”

Orbán is defending the right of ethnic Hungarians to learn in their native language, after Kiev passed a 2017 law restricting the use of minority languages in schools.

Read more about it:

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