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The flags of the European Union and Ukraine outside the EU Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 24, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes (Ksenia Kuleshova/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Hungary is preventing consensus among EU members on the start of Ukraine's accession talks, Interfax Ukraine reported on June 7, citing undisclosed diplomatic sources.

The news came after the European Commission supported the start of accession talks with Ukraine on the same day, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

For talks to begin, the EU needs to unanimously agree that Ukraine has undertaken measures to improve issues like corruption and the protection of minority languages.

Budapest has repeatedly claimed that the Hungarian ethnic minority concentrated in southwestern Ukraine is discriminated against due to Kyiv's language laws.

Ukraine denies the allegations and updated its national minorities law at the end of 2023 in line with the EU's recommendations.

"Everyone knows that the Commission thinks that Moldova and Ukraine have fulfilled their requirements and that we should hold an intergovernmental conference," a European diplomat told the Ukrainian media outlet.

"Many countries agreed with this, but Hungary reiterated that they have conditions that still need to be fulfilled. Otherwise, they will not be able to accept the Commission's assessment."

Another undisclosed senior diplomatic source said that Hungary had reiterated its previous stance about the lack of progress regarding the ethnic minority issue in Ukraine, mentioning that the EU also needs to "move forward" with Serbia's and Albania's accession talks.

"We are all (apart from Hungary) in favor of holding the intergovernmental conference on June 25," the diplomat said.

Both senior diplomats said that the discussion about Ukraine would continue next week.

Budapest may compromise for progress for the Western Balkan countries, giving the "green light to Ukraine and Moldova as well," the sources told Interfax Ukraine.

EU and Ukrainian officials are reportedly pushing for the talks to start by June 25 before Hungary takes the presidency of the EU Council in July.

Relations between Kyiv and Budapest became particularly tense throughout the full-scale war, as Hungary maintained close ties with Russia and obstructed aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Moscow.

EU aid and accession talks: Why European elections matter for Ukraine
Starting on June 6, citizens of the European Union will head to the voting booths to elect the bloc’s 720-member European Parliament. The election, held between June 6 and June 9 and often downplayed as irrelevant by voters, will have a major impact on EU domestic and foreign policy, among
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2:54 PM

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