“Hungary’s perspective is clear: Ukraine is not ready for us to begin negotiations on its EU membership. It’s a completely illogical, irrational, and improper decision,” Hungary’s prime minister said.

Orban said he stepped aside since all of his counterparts were committed to putting Ukraine on the EU membership path.

“Hungary doesn’t want to share in this bad decision, which is why Hungary abstained from today’s decision,” Orban said.

Others lauded Orban’s gesture. They were preparing for a summit that some feared might spill over into an extra day Saturday.

“Certainly quicker than any of us expected,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

“In fairness to Prime Minister Orban, he made his case, made it very strongly. He disagrees with this decision, and he’s not changing his opinion in that sense but essentially decided not to use the veto power,” Varadkar said.


What was the last time an EU member used its veto power to prevent a country from joining the EU? The article describes how Orban could have used his veto power to prevent Ukraine from joining the EU, but he chose to not do so, because every member country decided to let Ukraine join. Is there a precedent of a country using its veto power to prevent a country from joining the EU?

1 Answer 1


Greece - Macedonia, then Bulgaria- Macedonia.

The conflict with Greece was finally resolved but went as far as forcing to rename Macedonia into now North Macedonia in 2018.

The process of joining is not finished because then Bulgaria was blocking. Bulgaria only lifted the veto in 2022.

On the positive side, history shows that these vetos are not something that is put and then does not change for decades. A country putting a veto may negotiate out something important for them, and then the veto is retracted.

The veto holder is also subject of various pressures from the other members of EU like see this for Hungary. Ukraine may get much more support because it is not in the best interests of Eastern Europe to turn them away from EU into Russia.

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