Macron to persuade Orbán on Ukraine and EU – Politico
Emmanuel Macron and Viktor Orban (Photo: EPA, Mohammed Badra)

French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to a meeting in Paris later this week to jointly seek a compromise on starting negotiations with Ukraine regarding its EU accession, according to Politico, citing a diplomat from another EU country in Paris.

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The source indicates that the French president believes the Hungarian leader can still be convinced to support Ukraine's entry into the EU.

The official suggests that Orbán is "driving up the bids" to secure more funds from the EU.

"It’s purely tactical... That’s why there’s a certain optimism that we can reach an agreement", the source said.

Read also: Vice President of European Commission highly commends Ukraine's efforts in combating corruption – photo

The diplomat dismisses Orbán's threats as a political spectacle and attempts to counter the impression that the Hungarian Prime Minister dictates the agenda to the other 26 countries, stating: "Another day, another letter from Budapest. So what’s new?"

However, another high-ranking diplomat from a third EU country notes that Orbán is becoming increasingly inflexible. This time, Orbán seems to genuinely signal that he won't back down from his position on Ukraine's accession, even if he receives more funds from the EU.

According to the source, the challenge with Orbán's stance lies in complicating the achievement of a typical compromise within the European Council, as the issue has become "binary." He added: "Either we decide in December to open accession negotiations, or we don't." 

Read also: Financial matters for Ukraine to be resolved: EU has "Plan B" in case Hungary vetoes assistance – Reuters

On the other hand, another high-ranking diplomat notes that Orbán's recent letter omitted two points he raised in his previous letter to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

"If you compare the two letters, you’ll notice that he no longer mentions opposition to security guarantees for Ukraine and to the Russia sanctions," he said.

EU ambassadors are set to discuss the proposal to initiate negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the bloc on December 5th.

November 10, Orbán stated that Hungary has a "clear position"—there should be no negotiations regarding Ukraine's entry into the European Union.

November 22, Orbán threatened to block all assistance from the European Union to Ukraine, as well as the country's future accession to the bloc, if EU leaders do not agree to reconsider their strategy for supporting Ukraine.

November 30, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated at the annual conference of the European Defence Agency that the EU must take into account Ukraine's military needs when defining the future strategy of Europe's defense industry