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Orban about tough issues to clear before Ukraine's EU membership talks

Orban about tough issues to clear before Ukraine's EU membership talks Putin's friend says there are obstacles to Ukraine's EU accession talks (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday that "very difficult questions" would need to be answered before the European Union could even start membership talks with Ukraine, Reuters reports.

In December, EU countries will decide whether to commence negotiations with Ukraine about its accession, a decision that will require unanimous support from all 27 members. Diplomats have indicated that Hungary may pose an obstacle.

"We cannot avoid the question - when during the autumn we will have negotiations in Brussels about the future of Ukraine - whether we can actually seriously consider membership for a country, to start accession talks with a country that is at war," Orban said.

Orban mentioned that he does not know neither the extent of Ukraine's territory due to the ongoing war, nor the size of its population as refugees are leaving the country.

"To admit a country to the EU without knowing its parameters, this would be unprecedented," he added.

"So I think we need to answer very long and difficult questions until we get to actually deciding about the start of accession talks," the Prime Minister of Hungary said.

Putin's friend's stance

Orban cultivates much warmer ties with Moscow than many of his EU colleagues and has repeatedly locked horns with Kyiv, including over the right of ethnic Hungarians to learn in their native language after Ukraine passed a law in 2017 regarding students' right to know the state language.

Orban told parliament on September 25, 2023 that Hungary would not support Ukraine on any issue in international relations until Kyiv makes concessions regarding ethnic Hungarians.

Hungary is the only European country considered hostile by Ukrainians. According to polling by the Rating Sociological Group, Hungary transitioned into the category of hostile countries for Ukrainians in 2022.