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Hungary to block Ukraine’s EU accession talks over language law

With Ukraine’s European Union accession talks approaching, Balazs Orban drew a red line: “As long as this law exists, there can be no discussions with the Ukrainians about their integration into the European Union.”
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Hungary to block Ukraine’s EU accession talks over language law

Balazs Orban, Political Director to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said that Hungary will block the start of EU accession talks with Ukraine until Hungarian demands are met regarding language education for minorities.

He made this statement in an interview with NOS Dutch Broadcasting Service on 7 November.

“Hungary has always been a supporter of Ukrainian rapprochement with the European Union.” the political director said but added that a stricter Ukrainian language law has changed everything.

Orban contends that new Ukrainian legislation imposing at least 70% of education in Ukrainian on all minorities, including Hungarians, has “made life miserable” for those communities.

“We cannot accept this,” he stated firmly.

With Ukraine’s European Union accession talks approaching, Balazs Orban drew a red line: “As long as this law exists, there can be no discussions with the Ukrainians about their integration into the European Union.”

On 3 November, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed an updated law regarding national minorities on. This law permits the publication of advertisements and the holding of public and cultural events in the languages of national minorities within their communities.

According to an internal European Commission document obtained by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the EU considers Ukraine has fully met four of the seven criteria required to start EU accession talks.

However, on reforming legislation on minorities per Venice Commission recommendations, it notes not all were implemented, and Ukraine should introduce the remainder mentioned in the June 2023 opinion and its subsequent October 2023 opinion, in particular by amending the laws on the state language, media, and education.

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