Published On: Mon, Feb 12th, 2024
World | 3,842 views

Viktor Orban says Serbia should join EU before Ukraine in bid to save it from China | World | News

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivered a stark message to the European Union, claiming that the bloc risks losing Serbia to China if it does not accelerate the country’s accession process.

Orban urged the EU to prioritise Serbia’s integration into the union over that of Ukraine.

Speaking to European Voices, a magazine published by Die Presse, Orban stressed the need to complete the longstanding enlargement process with Serbia before embarking on the admission of Ukraine.

“If we do not integrate Serbia as soon as possible, we will lose it,” he warned, emphasising the strategic importance of securing Serbia within the EU fold.

Serbia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2009, but progress has been slow due to concerns regarding issues such as the country’s democratic backsliding and close ties with Russia and China.

Orban’s concerns about potential Chinese influence in the region stem from a recently concluded free trade agreement between Serbia and China, signed in October last year. This agreement has positioned China as Serbia’s second-largest trade partner after the EU.

“Serbia has other options. A free trade agreement with China has just been concluded,” Orban noted, underscoring the urgency of EU integration for Serbia to counterbalance growing ties with non-European partners.

The Hungarian Prime Minister also weighed in on the situation in Ukraine, dismissing the likelihood of Kyiv successfully fending off Russia‘s invasion and joining the EU.

Orban advocated for Ukraine to function as a neutral buffer between the West and Russia.

He said: “If that doesn’t work, Ukraine will continue losing territory. Russia will destroy Ukraine again and again. Russia will never accept having an EU and NATO member like Ukraine on its borders.”

Orban also shed light on his perception of the EU’s military weakness, arguing that Russia does not take Europe seriously due to its military vulnerabilities. “We Europeans are not strong enough for the Russians to take us seriously. This is a power play. This is a war,” he added, calling attention to the geopolitical challenges facing the EU in the current global landscape.

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