Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: No decision on Ukraine EU accession talks at General Affairs Council meeting

Despite the pressure that has been applied, the European Union's General Affairs Council did not make a decision on Tuesday on starting Ukraine's EU accession talks, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Brussels.
12. December 2023 18:09

Speaking at a press conference after the council’s meeting, Szijjarto said the talks had mainly focused on the European Commission’s enlargement package, adding that most member states had wanted there to be a decision on starting talks on Ukraine’s EU accession.

But contrary to the original aims and despite the pressure that had been applied, no such decision was made, with the council acknowledging the EC’s assessment, meaning that the decision will go before EU leaders at this week’s summit, Szijjarto said, according to a ministry statement.

He noted that Hungary’s stance on the matter was not a tactical one, arguing that there was “no room for bargaining” because the government believed the EU was not prepared for starting a “well-structured accession process guaranteeing mutual benefits” with Ukraine.

The minister said it was clear that the EC had “no clue” how Ukraine’s potential membership would affect the bloc and its member states.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said Hungary had succeeded in having planned steps against Serbia removed from the package, along with the planned freezing of community funds for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s autonomous Serb Republic and steps that would have rendered accession talks with North Macedonia impossible.

“Contrary to European or global public opinion, pro-enlargement countries are actually in the minority in the European Union today,” Szijjarto said.

He lamented that the EU had not admitted a new member in ten years, that the bloc had not closed a single accession chapter with any of the candidate countries in six years, and that a new chapter was last opened two years ago.

North Macedonia has been a candidate country since 2005 and Albania since 2014, but real accession talks have yet to begin, Szijjarto said. Montenegro, he added, has had candidate status since 2010, and it had been six years since an accession chapter with it had been closed. He also noted that Serbia had been a candidate country since 2012, but no real progress had been made in connection with its integration.

Szijjarto said this situation was the result of there always having been member states that had raised some sort of objection, blocked the process or were against making progress in those countries’ accession.

“And interestingly enough, these member states . were never accused by anyone of being pro-Russia or pro-Putin, no one called them Kremlin propagandists and no one said they’d end up on the wrong side of history,” Szijjarto said.

He said that just as these member states had the right to express their opinion on enlargement, Hungary also had a right to apply a carefully considered approach, taking into consideration the interests of the EU, in connection with Ukraine.

Szijjarto called for the urgent completion of the open accession chapters with Montenegro, starting the third chapter of talks with Serbia and opening the actual accession process with North Macedonia and Albania.

The minister also reiterated Hungary’s support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s, Georgia’s and Moldova’s EU integration aspirations.

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