Oct 30, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Here’s why Hungary vetoed NATO’s joint closing statement

“Hungary won’t surrender the Transcarpathian Hungarian community to geopolitics,” said Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, announcing that Hungary did not approve the NATO Ambassadors’ joint statement on Ukraine.

Following NATO Ambassadors’ meetings, it is customary to adopt a joint statement. Hungary, however, has refused to accept the final version of the body’s declaration on Ukraine.

Hungary had made several proposals to reach a text that we could approve, suggestions during the statement’s preparation process that would have called upon Ukraine to abide by the word of international law, live up to its commitments and play by the rules of international organizations. This has been our government’s consistent position since Ukraine put forward its discriminatory education law.

“We even made recommendations that refer to the Council of Europe and the United Nations in regards to minority issues,” said the FM.

“Hungary won’t surrender the Transcarpathian Hungarian community to geopolitics,” FM Szijjártó said. According to Hungary’s head diplomat, the interests of the 150 thousand strong Hungarian minority in Ukraine “are not as important on the other side of the ocean, but we live here in East-Central Europe; the interest of a single Hungarian person is enough for us to take a stand.”

It would be a sign of at least some “minimal allied solidarity,” said FM Szijjártó, for a joint statement to say something about infringements on the rights of an ethnic minority group related to one of the member states.