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An aide to Zelenskyy is pushing for leaders from Hungary and Ukraine to engage in discussions about Ukraine's bid to join the EU.
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An aide to Zelenskyy is pushing for leaders from Hungary and Ukraine to engage in discussions about Ukraine’s bid to join the EU.

On Wednesday, the chief of staff for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed interest in setting up a meeting between the Ukrainian and Hungarian leaders. This comes as Budapest has voiced opposition to a proposal to begin discussions on granting European Union membership to Kyiv.

Andriy Yermak reported discussing a potential gathering between Zelenskyy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. This came after Orban and his party publicly expressed opposition to initiating membership negotiations.

Yermak communicated on Telegram that they had reached an agreement to determine a suitable date for the meeting.

Next week, at an EU summit, unanimous approval is required in order for membership talks to continue for Ukraine and Moldova, a former republic of the Soviet Union. This recommendation has been made by the European Commission. For Kyiv, joining the EU is a crucial step in moving towards the West, especially after 21 months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Currently in Washington with a delegation from Ukraine to discuss U.S. aid for Kyiv, Yermak expressed that Ukraine is hopeful for a favorable outcome from the EU meeting.

FILE - Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's chief of staff , is pictured at a press conference in Kyiv, Nov. 4, 2022.

FILE – Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff , is pictured at a press conference in Kyiv, Nov. 4, 2022.

Yermak stated that legislators in Kyiv will review important legislation in the near future in relation to Ukraine’s application for membership. He also mentioned that they are completely fulfilling their obligations.

Orban cautioned that there is a possibility of EU leaders being unable to come to an agreement regarding the initiation of membership discussions with Ukraine. He expressed that this matter should not be brought up for discussion at the summit.

Brussels has a strong lack of trust towards Orban due to conflicts that have occurred during his 13-year tenure, particularly regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals and migrants, as well as increased government regulation over academics, the judiciary, and the media. As a result, the EU has halted the distribution of billions of euros in funds to Hungary.

The Fidesz party passed a parliamentary resolution on Monday stating that EU expansion should continue as a rule-based and performance-based objective process.

“The start of membership talks with Ukraine should be based on a consensus among European Union member states… The conditions for this are not present today.”

Fidesz stated that EU leaders should carefully consider the impact of Ukraine’s potential membership on the unity and agricultural policies of the bloc, particularly for its less affluent members such as Hungary.

Last year, the entrance of Ukrainian grains into the EU caused demonstrations among farmers in Eastern Europe. Polish truckers also protested by blocking border crossings with Ukraine and demanding the EU to reinstate permits that restrict Ukrainian competitors’ transit.

According to his press chief, Orban is scheduled to have a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday before the summit.

Roger Hilton, a research fellow at the think tank GLOBSEC, stated that Orban has publicly committed to a strategy focused on causing chaos and panic before the EU Council Summit. The intention behind the spectacle he is creating is to induce stress and increase his bargaining power prior to the meeting of EU leaders.

The SBU security service stopped former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko from exiting the country last week, citing Russia’s intention to use his planned meeting with Orban to harm Kyiv’s interests.