FM: Ukraine’s EU accession would bring war to the bloc

The foreign minister said Ukraine will be unfit for European Union membership until peace can be established in the country.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Ukraine will be unfit for European Union membership until peace can be established in the country, arguing that Ukraine’s EU accession “would bring war to the bloc…”

Commenting on the European Commission’s new enlargement package, Minister Szijjártó said the analysis was correct in concluding that Ukraine had not met the conditions for EU candidate status, pointing out its violations of national minority rights. “Since even the European Commission says that Ukraine has failed to meet the conditions for candidate status, we don’t consider any additional steps to be timely when it comes to accession talks with Ukraine,” the minister said before leaving for Guatemala. At the same time, the Hungarian government believes it is time for a debate on the EU’s future policy on Ukraine, he added. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, it is clear that neither media freedom nor freedom of speech apply in the country, and elections are not being held, either, Minister Szijjártó said. “It would obviously be absurd for European Union institutions or member states to take a stance on how the institutions of the rule of law function in Ukraine under these circumstances,” he added. Enlargement, he said, should serve the expansion of peace, rather than bringing war into the bloc. “So we don’t consider any progress in Ukraine’s accession talks to be timely at the moment,” he said. “And we, Hungarians, of course, still expect Ukraine to restore the rights held by the Transcarpathian Hungarian community until 2015.” Meanwhile, Minister Szijjártó said the EU faced serious security and economic challenges and was getting weaker. One way to make the bloc stronger, he said, would be to admit more members, adding that the EU should “start with the Western Balkans”. “This is a process that has gone unfinished for twenty years,” Minister Szijjártó said. The Western Balkan countries clearly have a place in the EU, he said, adding that their accession would bring new momentum and energy to the bloc. He singled out Serbia as a key country in the region, noting that the EC had “correctly determined” that it had made significant progress on the path to EU integration. Minister Szijjártó said new accession chapters should be opened with Serbia as soon as possible so that the process could be concluded as quickly as possible. The minister welcomed the EC’s decision to grant candidate status to Georgia, which he said it should have received “a lot sooner”.