During his weekly radio appearance on Kossuth Radio’s “Good Morning, Hungary,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán explained his decision to leave the room during the vote to all accession talks for Ukraine to join the EU to begin, as well as Hungary’s veto of the proposed 50 billion Euro aid package for Kiev.
“Hungary did not take part in the decision related to Ukraine’s EU accession. Hungary, however, vetoed the EUR 50 billion grant intended for Ukraine,” Orbán explained on Friday. The Hungarian leader called the commencement of accession talks with Ukraine a misguided decision and declared that “Hungarians will not pay for its financial and economic consequences.”
During a long and difficult debate at the EU summit, Orbán made every effort to convince attendees to not even place the issue of Ukraine’s accession talks on the agenda, or if they did so, to make it clear that Ukraine is not ready to become a member of the EU. “This decision is untimely, the situation is not ripe for it, we should come back to this when Ukraine is ready to engage in talks,” Orbán told listeners.
The other 26 EU members all favored initiation of the talks and pressured Orbán not to stand in the way. “They’re 26 and I’m alone, and through this decision they wanted to give Ukraine the encouragement they need for the continuation of the war. So, they asked me not to prevent them from doing so,” Orbán said.
At the same time, Orbán argued that Hungary had nothing to lose by this decision, given that the national parliaments, including the Hungarian parliament, would have the final word regarding Ukraine’s membership. “If we do not want Ukraine to become a member of the European Union, the Hungarian Parliament will vote against it,” the Hungarian Prime Minister stated.
“They said that if anything during the negotiations violates Hungary’s national interests, I should stop them then; however, they want to move forward, so I shouldn’t hinder them,” Orbán said, adding that “Hungary does not want to take part in this misguided decision; do it on your own I said, and so instead I left the room.”
Viktor Orbán added that he was compelled to veto an EU grant of 50 billion Euros intended for Ukraine, but he said the EU will probably come back to this as part of an extraordinary summit sometime in February. “I had to veto the 50 billion and the amendment of the budget, they had no choice but to accept that Hungary would exercise its veto, so there’s no money.”
The Hungarian Prime Minister said “the situation in Ukraine is dire; instead of sending more money to the war, the conflict should be stopped, we need a ceasefire and peace talks.”