June 18, 2024

Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, has announced that Budapest will not support Ukraine’s NATO membership until the rights of the Hungarians of Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) in Ukraine are restored.

Source: Orbán during a speech in Parliament, as reported by European Pravda, citing Magyar Nemzet

During his speech, Orbán claimed that Ukrainians “have been oppressing Hungarian schools” in Zakarpattia for years.

“Hungary will not support Ukraine’s NATO membership until the previous laws have been restored,” he added.

Elsewhere in his speech, Orbán also claimed that Ukraine’s accession to NATO will start a new war in Europe.

“We have seen that if Ukraine does not give up its intention to join NATO, then it will only be a matter of time before we have to deal with a new conflict which will endanger the supply of energy from Russia. That is why we have taken our relationship with Central Asia to a friendly level, so that the Russo-Ukrainian war and the terrorist attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline would not become an insurmountable obstacle for energy supplies to our country,” Orbán claimed.

He also recalled the crisis surrounding the import of Ukrainian agricultural products to the EU, calling upon Brussels not to let Hungary down and to reinstate the restrictions that were in place until 15 September.

Background:

  • On 15 September, representatives of Ukraine and Hungary in Budapest held the fourth meeting of the Hungarian-Ukrainian intergovernmental working group on education, during which the rights of Hungarians in Zakarpattia and refugees in Ukraine were discussed.

  • Earlier this year, the Office of the Hungarian Prime Minister made it clear that it would not accept Ukraine’s future accession to the EU without new concessions concerning the law on education, which has become the main source of problems in the two countries’ bilateral relations.

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