Hungary requests NATO review relations with Ukraine

Yevropeiska Pravda reports that Hungary has submitted an official request to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg regarding an initiative to review support programs for Ukraine. This was confirmed by NATO headquarters.

According to the information, a document entitled "Memorandum: Initiative for the Establishment of a New NATO Policy towards Ukraine" was approved at a solemn meeting of the renewed Hungarian government headed by Viktor Orban.

The document was sent from Budapest to the NATO leadership and all Alliance states.

"The Ukrainian state has become so weak that it is incapable of fulfilling such fundamental obligations as the protection of the rule of law, and economic, social and political leadership," the Hungarian government said in the document.

It stresses that Ukraine has not achieved success “despite the unprecedented level of political support and financial assistance." It is also claimed that Ukraine "poses a danger to its neighbors".

Budapest suggests revising the support NATO provides to Ukraine based on these conclusions.

"In the interests of preserving the stability of our eastern neighborhood, NATO should adjust its Ukraine policy to meet these new conditions," the memorandum says.

The appeal to NATO contained a provision with strings attached: Budapest would be willing to rescind all its accusations if Ukraine does not apply the language provision of the Law on Education for national minorities of NATO member countries, including the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia.

The NATO official who confirmed that Stoltenberg’s office received a letter from Orban explained that ideas for a radical change in relations with Kyiv are not on the Alliance’s agenda. "NATO gives Ukraine powerful political and practical support and has no plans to change this situation," the Alliance's comment says.

Brussels noted that it would not comment on the contents of the Hungarian proposals, but - unlike the Orban government - assured that they would watch the progress of reforms. "In recent years, Ukraine has implemented significant reforms in the security and defense sectors, as well as in such areas as health care, education and the welfare of the population. It is important for Ukraine to continue moving along the path of reforms," the Alliance noted.

On April 23, Hungary blocked a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO commission at the level of the Foreign Ministers for the third time, thus expressing its grievances regarding the language clause of the Ukrainian Law on Education. In October last year, Budapest vetoed the convocation of a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission scheduled for December 6. On March 20, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced his intention to prevent the participation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the NATO summit to be held in Brussels in July. Poroshenko replied in response that he would not cancel the trip.

In April, the Polish Foreign Minister proposed to change the format of Ukraine-NATO meetings in response to Hungary’s obstructions.

  Hungary, Ukraine, NATO, Stoltenberg, Orban, Szijjarto, Poroshenko