An Austrian politician has backed Hungary’s position of refusing to support Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Harald Vilimsky, the head of the Freedom Party of Austria’s (FPÖ) delegation to the European Parliament, has defended the Hungarian position, attacked from many sides, on the opening of EU accession talks with Ukraine, reports Mandiner.
The Hungarian Prime Minister had earlier indicated that despite the persuasion of European Council President Charles Michel, Hungary could not support the move for the time being. Bloomberg reports that Viktor Orbán has even written a letter to Charles Michel asking him not to put the issue of Ukraine’s EU accession negotiations on the agenda of the EU summit on December 14-15. French President Emmanuel Macron has therefore invited the Hungarian Prime Minister to Paris, where he will try to persuade him to change his position on Thursday.
On his Facebook page, Harald Vilimsky wrote:
“Orbán is right: Ukraine should not join the EU!”
In an earlier interview with Mandiner, the Austrian politician also defended Hungarian democracy and stressed that Hungary’s war policy is not only not pro-Russian, but also correct. “We want the same thing that Viktor Orbán wants: peace. We would force the parties at war to sit down at the table and try to find a solution to end the bloodshed,” Vilimsky told the newspaper.
The FPÖ is the clear favorite in next autumn’s Austrian elections, with support for the party rising steadily since June 2022, and now standing at 30 percent. The next-closest Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) stands at 24 percent, while the currently governing Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) is at 21 percent, according to POLITICO Poll of Polls.
Cooperation between Hungary and Austria has been outstanding under the People’s Party government. Hungary’s western neighbor has been an important partner on migration and war issues, and in the absence of the Prime Minister, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has represented Hungary in the European Council. POLITICO also suspects a Hungarian-Austrian secret alliance at the forefront of this year’s last European Council, due on December 14-15. While Hungary is blocking the start of accession talks with Ukraine, Austria may tie it to the start of negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, meaning that they would probably not be in a hurry to bring Ukraine in either. With the FPÖ possibly coming to power, even closer Austro-Hungarian cooperation is likely.
Via Mandiner, Bloomberg; Featured image: European Parliament