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Zenon Kowal on EU support for Ukraine with Orbán’s possible European Council presidency

#UAtoEU
January 11,2024 446
Zenon Kowal on EU support for Ukraine with Orbán’s possible European Council presidency

Zenon Kowal, a UWC Board of Directors member, a Political Advisor to the Association of Ukrainians in Belgium, and a Special Advisor to the Embassy of Ukraine in Belgium (1992-1995), in an interview with Ukrainian Espreso TV, said that Hungary and Slovakia, having opposed aid to Ukraine, will not change the European Union’s firm pro-Ukrainian position and undermine support for Kyiv. 

In this context, Zenon Kowal commented on the possible presidency of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the European Council. 

“There are 25 other powerful states that strongly support Ukraine – let’s mention France, Germany, Italy, to name a few. These are the main economic countries of the European Union. And, in my opinion, they will never allow someone like Orbán to assume the presidency of the European Union,” said Kowal. 

Mr. Kowal emphasized the importance of distinguishing between the European Council’s presidency and the European Union’s presidency.

“It’s a small difference in words, but in context, it’s important. Because the European Council is the council of heads of governments and states of the European Union. The Council of the European Union is the council of ministers dealing with various issues, that is, sectors that belong to the European Union… The European Council is the council that decides on major issues, and the Council of the European Union is the council that addresses issues at the level of ministers and each department dealing with specific issues,” explained Kowal.

Theoretically, Orbán’s appointment to the European Council is possible, added Kowal. “But even if they allowed it, believe me, they would keep Orbán so much under their control that they would not allow him to take any steps that are not in line with the overall trend of the European Union. And the overall trend is to support Ukraine,” Kowal said.

On January 7, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, announced that he would run for the European Parliament elections in June, prematurely resigning from his position. In this case, EU leaders have another six months to choose his successor. However, if a decision cannot be made quickly, the presidency of the European Council will temporarily pass to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. Additionally, Hungary will hold the presidency of the EU Council from July 2024 to December.

Cover: Espreso TV