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Official: Hungarian government to ask citizens whether they want Ukraine in EU

by Asami Terajima November 12, 2023 6:30 PM 3 min read
Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, and Robert Fico, Slovakia's prime minister, during a roundtable meeting at a European Union (EU) leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Simon Wohlfahrt/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The Hungarian government plans to ask its citizens whether they support Ukraine's potential EU membership in its upcoming questionnaire sent via mail, known as the "National Consultation," the country's Foreign Ministry's State Secretary Tamas Menczer said on Nov. 11.

Yet even the announcement itself appeared to nudge the citizens to respond negatively. In a 40-second video message shared on his Facebook page, Menczer presented the potential accession of Ukraine in a negative light, saying that it would mean that "the war would be brought into (our) community, and a significant part of the EU resources would also go to Ukraine."

Anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian statements are common for the Hungarian leadership.

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In early June, a bizarre and mysterious joint operation was carried out between two of Ukraine’s neighbors, one to the east and one to the west. Eleven Ukrainian soldiers, after having been held in Russian captivity for an unknown amount of time, were moved from Russia to Hungary. Although

Menczer's video message comes as his country's Prime Minister Viktor Orban urges the EU not to start membership talks with Ukraine, in spite of the recent recommendation from the European Commission. His government has been campaigning against Ukraine throughout the war, warning that Kyiv's entry into the EU could bring the war to the bloc.

In September, Orban also said that his country would not support Ukraine’s membership in NATO unless it restores certain laws related to Hungarian minorities in the country.

Echoing Orban's words, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry's state secretary, Menczer, claimed in his video message about Ukraine's EU accession that Ukraine "took away the rights of the Hungarian national community."

Ukraine has been rejecting Hungary's claims that it cracks down on its minorities. One of the main sources of strife has been a 2017 language law that requires at least 70% of education above the fifth grade of school to be conducted in Ukrainian.

Kyiv has been talking to Budapest to resolve the issue of the language of education of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Olha Stefanishyna told European Pravda on Nov. 7.

The deputy prime minister believes that Hungary's threats to block Ukraine's EU accession will not hinder "real work" for the benefit of national minorities.

As the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine nears a two-year mark, Hungary is one of the few European nations advocating against military aid for Ukraine.

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