Volodymyr Ogryzko: The EU should undergo reform to get rid of the 'populist blackmail'
Will the European Union be able to fulfill its promises regarding Ukraine if Hungary, led by Viktor Orbán, and now, following the victory of the pro-Russian SMER-SD party led by former Prime Minister Robert Fico in parliamentary elections, Slovakia, block this process? What does the European Union need to do to protect itself from the influence of populist leaders?
This was discussed in the Radio Liberty with Volodymyr Ogryzko, the head of the Russia Research Center and Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2009.
"If, for example, Hungary were to simply block the adoption of such a decision, then unfortunately, we will not have such guarantees. And this once again and again brings the question of reforming the EU to the forefront, quite literally pushes it onto the agenda. Because in Brussels, more and more people see and understand that it is not possible to be dependent on the positions of one or another populist leader or government. Therefore, I believe that we need to approach this with due attention. We will, I believe, be entering a different EU, a union that will already be reformed, " said Volodymyr Ogryzko.
He added: "Because there are currently at least four circles of such membership being actively discussed, at least at the level of Germany and France for now. And each of them is actually far from being acceptable for us. It is very good that Ukraine has clearly stated that we will only aspire to full, equal membership in the EU. I think this is absolutely the right and only possible position for us."
"The same thing is likely to happen now, although we shouldn't jump the gun, but it could also happen in Slovakia. Based on the statements made by the leader of the party that won in Slovakia, Fico, he will likely follow the path of Orban. And this will create significant tension in Europe. I mean in the EU and NATO," said Ogryzko in an interview.
According to him, we have at least three countries in the Central-Eastern European region that will effectively oppose Brussels in case of a change of power in Poland.
"Well, this is a possible very negative scenario that Brussels should really think about and propose solutions for. Otherwise, the EU's work will be effectively paralyzed," the diplomat added.