Macron to try to convince Orban to back starting EU accession talks with Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to a meeting in Paris to find a compromise on launching negotiations with Ukraine on its accession to the EU. Politico reported this.

Politico’s source in Paris reports that the French president believes he can still persuade the Hungarian leader to support Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

According to the official, Orban “raised the stakes” to get more money from the EU. However, Orban is known for anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian rhetoric.

A diplomat from another EU country called Orban’s threats a political spectacle and tried to counter the impression that the Hungarian prime minister was dictating the agenda to the other 26 countries.

However, another senior diplomat from a third EU country said that Orban is becoming more stubborn. The EU official in Brussels also said that this time Orban seems to be making it clear that he will not back down from his position on Ukraine’s accession, even if he receives more EU funds.

On December 4, the Hungarian Prime Minister demanded that a summit of EU leaders next week avoid any decision on Ukraine’s goal of getting a green light for EU membership talks even as the country fights Russia’s military invasion, Reuters reported.

Viktor Orban, who has maintained ties with Russia even as the EU has imposed economic sanctions against Moscow over its war in Ukraine, asserts that Kyiv is not ready to begin EU accession talks.

The Hungarian Prime Minister put his demand in a letter to Charles Michel, President of the European Council. Orban said the summit should not decide on a budget plan that includes 50 billion euros in financial support for Ukraine.

On November 8, the European Commission recommended starting the negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. In late November, Orban expressed Hungary’s opposition to including negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU on the agenda, citing a misalignment of interests.

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