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

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.

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

3:11 PM

Yermak: Ukraine working to restore operations at one airport.

Ukrainian authorities are working to restore operations at one of the country's airports once security issues are addressed, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak said at the "Made in Ukraine" forum on Feb. 26, the Liga.net outlet reported.
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
1:12 PM

Denmark drops investigation into Nord Stream explosions.

"The investigation has led the authorities to conclude that the sabotage of the pipelines was intentional. However, the assessment is that there is no sufficient basis to pursue a criminal case in Denmark," the Danish police said in a statement.
8:59 AM

US State Department condemns 'sham parliamentary elections' in Belarus.

Belarus opened polling stations for both the parliamentary and local elections on Feb. 25 amid condemnations from the Belarusian democratic opposition. The country is ruled by dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who uses rigged elections to solidify his regime rather than to provide a chance for actual democratic competition.
7:43 AM

ISW: Russian officials refrain from publicly discussing invasion anniversary.

Russian officials and state-controlled media largely refrained from publicly discussing the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 to avoid highlighting Russia's failure to achieve its stated military objectives, the Institute for the Study of War announced in their daily assessment on Feb. 25.
3:38 AM

Bloomberg: Biden to meet with House speaker.

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Congressional leadership, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, at the White House on Feb. 27 to discuss a funding bill for Ukraine’s security needs, Bloomberg reported on Feb. 25.
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
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.