• Hungary’s enlargement double bind

    “Ukraine is as far from EU membership as Makó is from Jerusalem,” Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stated jokingly in the Hungarian state media, a day after the European Commission gave the green light to the wartorn state’s accession negotiations.

    The old proverb quoted by the Prime Minister refers to Makó, a remote, rural town in Hungary, and is, therefore, a measure of large distance.

    Would Ukraine be a more faraway country for the Orbán cabinet than Moldova? The Hungarian government seems to have no serious concerns about Moldova’s EU accession. Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó visited Romania ahead of these negotiations, where he discussed energy cooperation with his Romanian counterparts and raised no objections to Moldova’s accession, which is important for Romania. But with Ukraine, Szijjártó says “war would come to the EU”.

    Above all, warned MEP Kinga Gál from Orbán’s Fidesz party, “the EU must first fulfil its promises to the Western Balkans, including Serbia [a close ally of Budapest].”

    This article is part of the "The long road into the EU" edition
    Enlargement: not a done deal
    “Too little, too slowly” – Ukraine’s path to the EU
    Hungary’s enlargement double bind
    Losing Western Balkan hearts and minds
    Could Poland be an example for the EU?