Skip to content
Edit post

Orban responds to Hungarians in Ukraine, offers substitute to EU membership

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 12, 2023 8:03 PM 2 min read
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives his speech in Hungexpo Fair and Exhibition Centre of Budapest on Nov. 18, 2023. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban responded on Dec. 12 to an appeal from the Hungarian community in Ukraine, asking him to support EU membership talks with Kyiv.

The letter from Hungarians in Ukraine came shortly before the EU talks on Dec. 14-15, during which Hungary threatens to block the launch of Ukraine's accession negotiations.

Budapest has previously said that alleged "discrimination" against the Hungarian community is one of the obstacles on Kyiv's path toward the EU.

In his letter, Orban vowed that Hungary "will do everything in its power to protect the rights of the Hungarian community in Ukraine," the Hungarian news portal hvg.hu reported.

Hungary's leader reiterated his earlier statements that the European Commission did not properly prepare for Ukraine's accession, and the launch of the talks is not suitable at the moment.

Join our community
Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Support us

"Therefore, we will propose that instead of legally complicated membership, the European Union aims at a strategic partnership with Ukraine," Orban wrote.

Hungarians in Ukraine are thought to number around 80,000, most of whom live in the western oblast of Zakarpattia.

Budapest claimed that Ukraine's 2017 language law amendments, which require at least 70% of education above fifth grade to be conducted in Ukrainian, are discriminatory against the Hungarian minority.

Kyiv has said that it does not intend to crack down on its minorities, only to ensure that every Ukrainian citizen has sufficient knowledge of Ukraine's official language.

Ukraine has made two updates to the law based on recommendations of the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who recently met his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, said that despite reservations, Budapest does not oppose Ukraine's EU membership "in principle."

Following the meeting, Szijjarto commented that Hungary's position on Ukraine's EU accession remains unchanged.

Media: Hungarians in Ukraine ask Orban to support launch of Ukraine’s EU accession talks
The leaders of the Hungarian community in Ukraine have written a letter, appealing to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban not to block the launch of Ukraine’s EU accession talks during the upcoming European Council summit, Ukrainska Pravda reported on Dec. 11.

Before you skip this banner, we want to tell you something…

The Kyiv Independent doesn’t depend on a wealthy owner or an oligarch — in 2023, 80% of our revenue was from reader contributions . It’s thanks to them that we don’t have to rely on a single owner.

Support us now and help maintain our independent model and keep our articles free for everyone. Your contributions allow us to cover journalists’ salaries, report from the front lines, and fund projects like our War Crimes Investigations Unit.

visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

1:43 PM

Zelensky signs law on single roaming zone with EU.

Under the "roam like at home" (RLAH) program, Ukrainians will not pay additional charges to use their mobile phone for communications and the Internet in the 27 EU countries. The same rules will apply to users of European operators traveling to Ukraine.
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
1:17 AM

Moscow confirms A-50 aircraft was shot down by Ukraine.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation confirmed that the Ukrainian Air Force shot down a rare Russian A-50 early warning and control aircraft over the Azov Sea back in February, killing ten crew members.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.