Brussels.  EU summit on Ukraine.  Viktor Orbán – what will he do?

The two most important topics at the European Council summit starting on Thursday are the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and the review of the EU’s long-term budget. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long announced that he will block both resolutions. In this regard, the Hungarian leader was invited to a meeting with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz.

European Union leaders met Thursday in Brussels for a two-day European Council summit. They will talk about further support for Ukraine, reviewing the EU budget, security and defense, and the situation in the Middle East.

Poland is represented at the European Council summit by Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Trying to convince Orban

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to a meeting on Thursday to convince him to give up his veto to start talks on Ukraine’s EU membership and release 50 billion euros in financial aid. Aid for Kiev..

The Hungarian Prime Minister had long declared that he would block both resolutions. Orban said on Thursday there was no time pressure to decide on further financial aid to Ukraine because short-term support had already been provided. He added that when it comes to long-term support, it should be created outside the EU’s common budget.

Viktor OrbánBab/Marcin Opara

Orban added that Ukraine had met only three of the seven conditions set by the European Union before accession negotiations could begin, meaning there were no reasons to start such talks with Kiev.

– We need to return to this issue again when these conditions are met by the Ukrainians, Orban said. – He stressed that we are not able to start negotiations.

Szlabka: Hungary’s position is clear

Our position is very clear on this matter. Adam Szlabka, Minister for European Union Affairs in Donald Tusk’s government, emphasized that we stand with Ukraine. “We believe that Ukraine should be supported very strongly,” he added. He said about a short conversation (Tusk) with Orban that took place on the sidelines of the summit. – Here it is very clear that Hungary’s position is clear. It may not be easy to reach an agreement. The minister added: “But we have all day to work on it.”

Adam Szlabka: Hungary’s position is clear, and reaching an agreement will not be easy TVN24

“Nineteen months later, we are once again faced with the need to make bold decisions.”

In an invitation to summit participants, European Council President Charles Michel wrote that “February 24, 2022 was a turning point in the history of Europe.” “Since the outbreak of war on our continent, we have taken a number of unprecedented decisions to support Ukraine while strengthening Europe’s sovereignty. Nineteen months later, we are once again faced with the need to make bold decisions. They require our collective strength and determination, as well as the courage to make the right choices.”

“We must fulfill our commitments to Ukraine and continue to be a strong and reliable partner. We must provide Ukraine with consistent and sustainable political, financial and military support, and in particular reach an agreement on the allocation of 50 billion euros for its long-term programme.” “We must also agree to start accession negotiations with Ukraine, thus giving the necessary signal and bringing it closer to our European family,” the President of the European Council stressed, adding that the Union must make important decisions towards other countries. Aspiring to membership, “while working to ensure that our association is prepared for the future and ready to welcome new members.

Roberta Mezzola and Charles Michel with Donald TuskOlivier Houslet/EPA

“New challenges bring new responsibilities. The review of the MFF has been intense and ongoing. I have carefully considered all your concerns and priorities and have put forward a proposal aimed at reconciling the different positions at the table. As with any compromise, I call for a willingness to build a compromise.” In the name of unity. Reaching consensus will indeed require a determined joint effort and strong political commitment from all of you.”

Security and defense are among the summit topics

The next topic of talks is security and defence.

“More efforts must be made to quickly achieve the Union’s goals of increasing defense preparedness. We also need to work on creating an internal defense market, which is crucial to strengthening our Union in this area,” the European Council President noted.

“Developments in the Middle East will also be an important item on our agenda. We must call for the release of all hostages and decisively address the alarming humanitarian situation in Gaza. We must be determined to support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself against Hamas. We must also address all forms of hatred and hostility – Semitism, intolerance, racism and xenophobia, including anti-Muslim hatred “.

Main image source: Bab/Marcin Opara

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