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8 Dec, 2023 15:02

Orban explains why EU can’t accept Ukraine

The Hungarian leader warned that that admitting "one of the most corrupt countries in the world" would be a disaster for the bloc
Orban explains why EU can’t accept Ukraine

Bringing Ukraine into the European Union would be a “bad decision,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban asserted in an interview with the news outlet Le Point published on Friday. The Hungarian government has opposed Kiev’s potential accession to the bloc.  

Orban told Le Point that he was in favor of boosting cooperation with Ukraine but believes that support for the country should not extend to EU membership.

The Hungarian leader said that Ukraine is ”not ready” for accession talks, nor is the EU itself prepared to accept Kiev as a full-fledged member.

Despite the opinion of Brussels and The Hague, Hungary, as a country bordering Ukraine, “knows exactly what is happening” there and does not believe that Kiev has met four out of seven requirements to join the bloc, as was stated in a European Commission report, Orban explained. 

“It is simply false. Ukraine is known to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It’s a joke,” said Orban. 

The prime minister suggested that the EU wasn’t ready to have Ukraine join the bloc because France, for example, would have to pay an additional €3.5 billion to the common Union Budget – something he doubted the French people were willing to accept. 

Orban also cautioned that Ukraine is a large country with a significant agriculture sector and that if it were to suddenly enter the EU agricultural system, “it would destroy it the next day.” 

“Without transforming our agricultural subsidy system, we cannot let them in. The consequences will be terrible,” he said. 

The Hungarian leader stressed that he would not be willing to budge on the question of Ukraine’s accession even if the European Commission offered to unblock the €10 billion in funds earmarked for Hungary that have been held frozen since December 2022. 

Orban’s comments come as Brussels has been trying to initiate the process of adding Ukraine and Moldova as member states. The issue is expected to be brought up at a summit of EU leaders next week. 

Hungary, however, has been calling for this to be scrapped from the agenda of the meeting. “The obvious lack of consensus would inevitably lead to failure,” Orban wrote in a letter to European Council President Charles Michel in which he vowed to block any negotiations on the matter of Kiev’s accession. 

Slovakia has also objected to fast-tracking Ukraine’s membership, with Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar stating that Kiev could not hope to join the block while it was embroiled in a bloody conflict with Russia and has also yet to meet a list of preconditions.