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Yermak: Presidents of Ukraine, Hungary to meet soon

After Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine and Hungary had limited contact, as Hungary’s leader is known for his pro-Russian stance. However, in recent weeks there have been increased interactions between the two countries’ leaders.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 2023. Photo via Zoltan Kovach
Yermak: Presidents of Ukraine, Hungary to meet soon

Andriy Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, held a “productive phone conversation” with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó to arrange a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the near future, Andrii Yermak, head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office, wrote on X (Twitter) on 28 December.

Following Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine and Hungary had limited contact, but recent weeks have seen increased interactions. Viktor Orban, Hungary’s leader, known for his pro-Russian stance, has been hindering Ukraine’s EU and NATO aspirations.

According to Yermak, the two officials “worked on organizing a meeting of the two leaders in the very near future.” He said they also “discussed Ukraine’s advancement on the path of European integration.”

 “We will certainly not change our peace-making position, but I look forward to our personal meeting in January, when we will have the opportunity to discuss the most pressing bilateral issues,” Szijjártó wrote on Facebook.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister said, “Maintaining a high level of dialogue is important because it gives hope that we can improve our relationship.”

Yermak said the conversation was built on previous talks between Zelenskyy and Orbán.

Ukraine’s Presidential Office recently announced that talks between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban might cover a broad spectrum of bilateral relations.

Viktor Orbán vetoed the EU’s attempt to secure a crucial €50 billion financial aid package for Ukraine overnight into 15 December, raising questions about Europe’s continued support for Kyiv.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte reported that out of the 27 EU member states, 26 agreed regarding the Ukraine funding, but that “Viktor Orban, Hungary, is not yet able to do that. I hope next year.”

Orbán has consistently obstructed Ukraine’s efforts to draw closer to NATO for many years, justifying its actions by pointing to Ukraine’s educational and language laws. According to Orbán, these laws purportedly infringe upon the rights of Ukraine’s Hungarian national minority.

On 8 December, the parliament of Ukraine (the Verkhovna Rada) passed laws that increase the staff and powers of the anti-corruption agencies and regulate the rights of national minorities, fulfilling three out of four conditions set by the European Commission for opening accession talks with Ukraine, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Iryna Herashchenko said.

On 8 November 2023, the European Commission recommended opening accession talks with Ukraine but stipulated four requirements for such a decision. By adopting the laws that increase the staff of the NABU, expand the powers of the NACP, and regulate the rights of national minorities, Ukraine has met three out of four requirements of the European Commission necessary for further progress toward EU membership.

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