EU ready to start Ukraine membership talks, but Hungary remains an obstacle

Press quote (Semafor)
07 June 2024

The Commission’s attempt to speed up the start of negotiations is symbolically important but will make little practical difference, Ian Bond from the Centre for European Reform told Semafor Friday. Hungary has every opportunity to make the negotiating process “complicated, bloody, and long” whether in the president’s chair or not, he said. The Commission might also be wary about being seen as giving in to “blackmail” from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who may allow talks to begin only in exchange for the release of EU funds earmarked for Hungary that were frozen over rule-of-law concerns. And there’s little chance of the EU invoking Article 7 to suspend Hungary’s voting rights because Slovakia at least is unlikely to agree, Bond added.