Balazs Orban - Photo:

PM’s policy director: EU divided on Ukraine accession

The matter of Ukraine's European Union accession has not been settled, and all that is certain is that there is no longer unity on this issue within the EU, the prime minister's policy director told public radio on Sunday.

Hungary made it clear at this week’s summit of EU leaders that it disagrees with Ukraine’s EU membership and considers any start to accession talks to be premature, unjustified and not properly prepared, Balazs Orban said.

But the other 26 member states insisted that a positive message had to be sent to Ukraine and pointed out that accession talks would take a long time, he added.

Orban said there were at least 75 occasions that would require unanimity and therefore Hungary’s support in order for the process to move forward, and Hungary’s parliament would also have to approve it.

Hungary, he said, had voiced its disagreement and let the other 26 member states make the decision.

Orban said the EU’s founding treaty made it clear that the bloc could only be enlarged with the agreement of member states, adding that Hungary’s right could not be restricted beyond a certain point by any procedural rule.

He said the discourse had been about the seven criteria the EU had set for Ukraine in order for it to receive candidate country status of which the European Commission says it had only fulfilled four, while Hungary says it had not fulfilled any.

Orban said this meant progress on the accession talks was untimely.

As regards the EU budget, he said Hungary’s stance was that the budget did not need to be amended because every issue could be managed outside the framework of the budget or by diverting funds within it.

Hungary is prepared to discuss the issue but had its set of terms, he said, noting that Hungary did not want “Hungarians’ money to be given to Ukraine” and called for a strategic debate on Ukraine’s financing.

As regards the EU recovery monies, he ruled out Hungary’s contribution to the higher interest burdens until Hungary gained access to the funds it was entitled to.

Orban also said the proposed changes to the EU budget also concerned migration and additional funding to improve Europe’s economic competitiveness, noting Hungary had indicated that it agreed with multiple points of the proposal.

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