Hungary believes that Ukraine is very far from becoming a member of the EU and Budapest will not change its stance on accession talks in exchange for a hypothetical unfreezing of funding by Brussels, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told Radio Kossuth on Friday.
“Ukraine is absolutely not ready to negotiate over its bid for EU membership. Ukraine is as far from EU membership as Mako is from Jerusalem,” he said, using a popular Hungarian idiom.
The expression is said to be a play of words on the resemblance of the names of the southeastern Hungarian town and the port of Akko that many European pilgrims transitioned on their way to the Holy Land. The latter settlement is now the Israeli city of Acre.
On Wednesday, the European Commission recommended that the EU start formal membership talks with Kiev. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen claimed that the Ukrainian government had satisfied some 90% of Brussels’ requirements for it to move to the next phase.