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Orban abstains from EU vote on Ukraine accession, claims EU leaders made 'bad decision'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 14, 2023 9:21 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives at the European Council summit on Dec. 14, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
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Despite fears that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban would pose an obstacle, the European Council agreed to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Dec. 14.

The decision was made without Orban, after he reportedly left the negotiations. An EU source told the Kyiv Independent that "Orban was momentarily absent from the room in a pre-agreed and constructive manner."

In a video posted to social media shortly after Michel's announcement, Orban said that it was "a senseless, irrational, and incorrect decision to start negotiations with Ukraine under these circumstances."

Since the other EU countries "insisted that this decision be made," Hungary decided that "they should go their own way."

"Hungary does not want to share in this bad decision and for this reason, Hungary did not participate in the decision today," Orban said.

He reiterated his claim that "EU membership for Ukraine is a bad decision" in the caption of the video.

European leaders had been working to the last hour to prevent Orban, who has openly opposed further support to Ukraine and held on to ties with Russia, from vetoing the historic decision.

President Volodymyr Zelensky was reportedly not invited to the EU Council Summit due to fears that his presence "could antagonize" Orban, Politico said.

The decision to leave the room came after "extensive negotiations," according to Orban's political advisor, Balazs Orban, of no relation to the prime minister.

"Hungary's stance remains firm and unaltered: we do not consider Ukraine ready for EU negotiations," the political advisor said.

BREAKING: European Council agrees to open accession talks with Ukraine, Moldova
The European Council has agreed to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Dec. 14.
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