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Scholz's trick with Orban: Ukraine’s EU membership talks open

Scholz's trick with Orban: Ukraine’s EU membership talks open German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Maria Kholina

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban walked out of the room during the European Council meeting when the decision to start negotiations with Ukraine was being adopted. This idea was proposed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to Politico.

Sources said that after three hours of negotiations among EU leaders regarding the start of Ukraine's accession talks, the German Chancellor proposed a solution.

Scholz suggested to Orban, who had been blocking the decision, to simply grab a coffee outside the meeting room while leaders of other EU countries discussed the issue of Ukraine. This maneuver successfully led to a unanimous decision to begin negotiations with Ukraine on EU membership.

According to Politico, Scholz's proposal was not spontaneous; it had been discussed earlier behind the scenes.

As journalists point out, Scholz's move surprised Brussels. The German Chancellor is often compared to his predecessor Angela Merkel and criticized for not being able to replace her on the political stage. However, his excellent strategy at the EU summit restored Scholz's leadership.

European Council's decision on Ukraine

Yesterday, on December 14, during the summit, leaders of European Union countries approved the opening of negotiations for Ukraine's accession to the bloc.

This decision came against the backdrop of concerns that Hungary might block the decision by vetoing it. The EU leaders' negotiations lasted more than three hours, and the summit's start was delayed due to Budapest's stance. However, at the time of the vote, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had left the room, resulting in a unanimous adoption of the decision.

For more details on what lies ahead for Ukraine, please refer to RBC-Ukraine's coverage.