Hungary Promises to Block Start of Ukraine's Negotiations on Joining EU

Tuesday, 7 November 2023

Balázs Orbán, Political Director of the Prime Minister of Hungary, said that Budapest will block the start of negotiations with Ukraine on joining the EU until Hungarian requirements regarding the language of education are met.

"Hungary has always been a supporter of Ukraine's rapprochement with the European Union," he said in an interview with NOS, adding, however, that a tougher language law has changed everything.

"We will block it until the problem is solved," said Orbán, answering whether Hungary will block the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.

"The new laws have made the life of Hungarians in Ukraine unbearable," Orbán said. He refers to the recently introduced law in Ukraine, which obliges minorities, not only Hungarian, to receive at least 70% of education in the Ukrainian language. Thus, Hungary worries that children who grow up in Hungarian-speaking families in Ukraine will have difficulties while studying.

"We cannot come to terms with this," Balázs Orbán said.

"Hungary's position is absolutely clear: as long as this law exists, there can be no discussions with Ukrainians about their integration into the European Union," he emphasised.

Earlier, Radio Svoboda reported that the European Commission considered that four of the seven criteria that accompanied the obtaining of candidate status for European Union membership by Ukraine have been fully met. At the same time, the other three criteria are accompanied by recommendations from the European Commission regarding further implementation.

Legislative reforms regarding national minorities are among the incompletely fulfilled criteria.

Bloomberg said that the European Commission will most likely recommend the EU member states to start official negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union after fulfilling all seven criteria.

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