Ukrainian membership would threaten EU security, Hungary says

Szijjártó Péter
Szijjártó Péter

Ukraine joining the EU would “bring war into the European Union,” Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Nov. 8, as reported by Hungarian outlet Portfolio.

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According to Szijjártó, "nobody can want" war to come to the EU, suggesting that Ukraine could only be accepted after peace is achieved in the country.

Szijjártó also believes Ukraine has not fulfilled all the conditions set for EU membership. He specifically highlighted minority rights issues as being “glaringly” problematic.

While Hungary considers the steps toward starting membership negotiations for Ukraine to be timely, it insists on further debate.

The Hungarian minister also alleged that due to the ongoing war, that there is "no media freedom, no freedom of speech, no elections" in Ukraine.

On Nov. 7, Balázs Orbán, Political Director to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, announced the government's threat to veto the commencement of negotiations regarding Ukraine's entry into the European Union, particularly over "violations of the Hungarian minority's rights."

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Responding to Hungary's threats, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the country is "principally advancing the issue of national minorities precisely in the Hungarian perspective" and urged to "address problems as they arise."

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Later, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olga Stefanishyna reported that Ukraine had provided Hungary with a detailed roadmap on resolving disputes related to national minorities.

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On Nov. 8, the European Commission recommended initiating membership negotiations for Ukraine and Moldova. The President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, stated that Ukraine has completed "over 90%" of the necessary steps outlined by the European Commission in 2022 particularly commending judicial reforms and anti-corruption efforts. Brussels expects Ukraine and Moldova to finish work on the reforms by March 2024.

The European Council is expected to decide in mid-December whether to begin membership negotiations with Ukraine. This decision must be made unanimously by all EU member states.

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