Judit Varga, the head of the Hungarian parliament’s committee for EU affairs, said in Madrid on Monday that Hungary will not support Ukraine’s European integration until Kyiv guarantees the rights of the Hungarian minority living there.
“We unequivocally support Ukraine’s European integration, but Ukraine received a strict list of conditions when it was granted candidate status,” Judit Varga told MTI after the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs (COSAC). The rights of Hungarians living in Ukraine must be restored to at least the level it was in 2015, she said. “Developments lately, however, are pointing to [Hungarians in Ukraine] being completely stripped of their rights,” she said. The European Commission will publish a report in October serving as a baseline for member states’ decision on the matter, she said. According to an opinion published by the Venice Commission, the status of Hungarian minorities in Ukraine “could be regulated with a simple amendment,” she said.
Regarding the bloc’s enlargement, Varga told the conference that Hungary was a long-standing champion of the EU’s integration of the Western Balkans. “It is very important that we offer a real outlook. We can only accept an enlargement procedure based on merit,” she said. The integration process should respect national integrity and subsidiarity, she said, noting that Serbia and other countries in the region have been negotiating with the EU for over a decade. The focus in the east was on Ukraine and Moldova, she said, yet Georgia also deserved an outlook on joining the EU.
Varga also praised Spain’s program for the EU presidency, calling it a “balanced programme up to handling current challenges facing the EU.” Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares highlighted demographic issues, a priority for Hungary too, she said. Demographic challenges will be one of the focal points of the Hungarian presidency in the second half of 2024, and the government highlight competitiveness when approaching it, she said. The government aims to “make its family policy measures more popular” during the presidency, she added.