Hungary criticizes EU for more attention to Ukraine than the Balkans

Prague, Jun 26 (EFE).- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Monday that the European Union (EU) has failed in its policy towards the Western Balkans, calling it a mistake to give priority to Ukraine over the Balkan nations.

“It is unacceptable for the inhabitants of this region to see that Ukraine is closer and even enters (in the EU) before their countries, who have been trying for years,” Orban said, referring to the granting of EU candidate country status to Ukraine in June 2022.

The EU opened accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro ten years ago, with Albania and Macedonia in 2022, while Kosovo applied for EU membership in December 2022.

“We cannot afford to put on earmuffs and look only at Ukraine. We must be aware of the Balkans (as well),” urged Orban, who is considered Russia’s closest ally within the European Union.

Hungary and Turkey are the only NATO members who have not provided military aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“The EU must take note not only of Ukraine but of things in the Balkans as well: it must take historic decisions, instead of there being so many differences,” Orban said in Slovakian capital Bratislava, during the prime ministers summit of the Visegrad Group (V4).

The Visegrad alliance, which brings together the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, was formed to promote military, economic, cultural and energy affairs cooperation between its members.

Orban said the EU “considers that the integration of Western Balkans into the EU is inappropriate for the moment” due to the growing ethnic tensions in the region, including the recent conflict between the government in Kosovo and its Serb minority.

“We need a Balkan policy that clearly ensures the prospect of membership” for the western Balkans, he added. EFE


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