In his weekly appearance on Kossuth Radio on Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated stated that, at present, Ukraine joining the EU does not coincide with Hungary’s national interests. Orbán said that the European Union should first enter into a strategic partnership agreement with Ukraine, and should take care of Ukraine’s funding needs outside of the EU’s budget, in a transparent manner.
The Hungarian Prime Minister said that no decision should be made about talks regarding Ukraine’s European Union membership at the upcoming meeting of EU leaders in mid-December. Orbán said it is a big mistake for the European Commission to pressure the prime ministers to place this issue on the agenda.
“The Commission proposed that we start negotiations about Ukraine’s membership, despite the fact that this does not coincide with the best interests of a number of Member States, most certainly not with the best interests of Hungary, for one. And we’re in a robust enough condition to have the courage to say so, no matter how much pressure they’re exerting,” Orbán said.
Viktor Orbán said that there will be no agreement concerning Ukraine joining the EU, and if that is the case, it will disrupt European unity. Hungary will block a decision on this matter, he added.
The Hungarian Prime Minister said he will propose that the European Union first enter into a strategic partnership agreement with Ukraine. In his view, this could take 5 to 10 years, and during that time we could bring Ukraine closer to the EU. “When we see that we can cooperate, then we should consider the issue of membership. However, this will only be possible in many years,” Orbán said.
He recalled that the EU had already made a similar mistake. They engaged in talks with the Turks and promised them membership, but there has been no progress for 20 or 30 years. This is frustrating for everyone, and the whole affair is a failure.
Orbán also drew attention to the fact that in the case of Ukraine there are a number of questions which they do not know the answer to, given that the country is at war, its legal and political systems function differently than in countries leading a peaceful life, and so it is impossible to determine whether it complies with the EU’s constitutional and rule of law conditions.
He also pointed out that they are also unable to determine the actual territory of Ukraine, a country they seek to admit to the EU. From a legal point of view there is no doubt about Ukraine’s jurisdiction over certain parts of the country, but from a military point of view, Russian troops are stationed in them. “We likewise do not know the size of its population as people keep fleeing Ukraine, nor do we know whether the integration of Ukrainian agriculture will favor the farmers of the countries that are already inside or not,” Orbán said, adding that Hungarian farmers in the hundreds of thousands would go under if Ukrainian agriculture were made a part of the European system.
The Hungarian Prime Minister insisted that Ukraine should receive financial support from outside the EU budget, in a transparent manner. He said separate intergovernmental agreements could establish a fund that should be set up to support Ukraine, to which each country would contribute at its discretion.
“So far, we have given the Ukrainians a very large sum of money, more than EUR 100 billion partly in the form of weapons, and partly in the form of cash. Had we used this money for the development of Europe, today the European economies would be in better shape,” the Hungarian Prime Minister stressed. “Europe is suffering from economic ailments, and meanwhile, it is spending money like there is no tomorrow, is sending weapons and money to Ukraine by the wagonload.”
“Rather than financing the war, we should finance a ceasefire, and then peace,” Orbán added.