BRUSSELS: European Union leaders unexpectedly agreed on Thursday (Dec 14) to open membership talks with Ukraine, one thing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for weeks had vowed to dam.
EU diplomats and officers mentioned Orban agreed to go away the room, understanding the opposite leaders would go forward and vote on Ukraine.
Orban confirmed that he had abstained from the vote on the EU summit on what he known as a “unhealthy resolution”.
Such an uncommon option to approve a call – particularly such a significant one – is unparalleled in Brussels, even for a spot the place diplomats have lengthy been very artistic about easy methods to strike offers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the choice.
“This can be a victory for Ukraine. A victory for all of Europe. A victory that motivates, conjures up, and strengthens,” he mentioned.
Ukraine badly wants assist from its Western allies in its practically two-year struggle in opposition to Russia’s invasion. Its counter-offensive has didn’t make main features and the Biden administration has up to now been unable to get a US$60 billion aid package for Ukraine through the US Congress.
European Fee chief Ursula von der Leyen mentioned it was “a strategic resolution and a day that may stay engraved within the historical past of our Union”.
Orban had very completely different phrases to explain the choice.
“Hungary’s stance is evident, Ukraine isn’t ready for us to start out talks on EU membership,” he mentioned, calling the choice to start out talks “irrational” and “inappropriate.”
“However 26 member states have been adamant that this resolution have to be made so Hungary determined that if 26 resolve so, they need to go on their very own path and Hungary doesn’t want to take part on this unhealthy resolution,” he mentioned.