Respect for minority rights has been and will remain a fundamental requirement of the enlargement policy!

2024. 03. 25.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) held an exchange of views with Member States’ Foreign Ministers on the EU’s enlargement policy in preparation for the March European Council. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister, who initiated the meeting, accused Hungary of using the issue of national minority rights as blackmail in the Ukrainian accession process. Andrea Bocskor, Fidesz MEP of Transcarpathian origin, stressed that the protection of minority rights and non-discrimination are fundamental European values and cannot be swept under the carpet, labelled as a manufactured problem or political blackmail. 

“Suggestions that the issue of minority protection is an artificially created problem or blackmail are outrageous. The protection of minority rights and non-discrimination are fundamental European values, which cannot be swept under the carpet” – Fidesz MEP Andrea Bocskor reacted to the statement of the Lithuanian Foreign Minister who trivialised the issue of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. 

“Minorities living in Ukraine must be guaranteed the same rights as the majority nation. Only by fulfilling this can we continue on the path to EU accession. The accession process must be based on merit”, she added. 

Hungary was represented at the meeting by Dr Péter Sztáray, Minister of State for Security Policy and Energy Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who said that enlargement policy had been of strategic importance to Hungary from the very beginning. With regard to Ukraine and in response to Hungary’s criticism, he stressed that there can be no talk of blackmail. Every candidate country has to meet the conditions set by the Commission and the Member States, and Ukraine still has a long way to go. Nation-building cannot go hand in hand with restrictions on minority rights, and Hungary will not allow that to happen. Last December, Ukraine took important steps in the field of minority protection, but much remains to be done. Hungary supports Ukraine’s European perspective, but for this to happen, the country must also deliver.