It is important to note that the European Council, which brings together the heads of state and government of the 27 EU Member States, already stated in June that 'the European Union remains firmly committed to providing further military support to Ukraine', then it called on the Council of the European Union, made up of the ministers of the Member States, to "work rapidly to further increase military support". Then, in August, the defence ministers of the Member States held an informal meeting in Prague to discuss, among other things, the conditions for establishing a mission to train Ukrainian soldiers. After the meeting, Hungarian Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky emphasised that several countries had indicated their need for clarification in connection with the military training program, and
The population is consistently opposed to the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the European Union
In September, Ukraine's foreign minister and defence minister requested assistance from the European Union for military training, in response to which Brussels recently set up a military assistance mission to support the Ukrainian armed forces. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, stressed that the move by Brussels was "clear evidence that the EU will stick with Ukraine for as long as necessary". Given that the mission risks further escalating the Russian-Ukrainian war, Hungary, as the only Member State, used the option of a constructive abstention in the vote on the proposal. In connection with these developments, Századvég took a closer look at the issue of training Ukrainian soldiers in the European Union, referring to its August opinion poll on public perception of this form of military assistance.
Brussels' actions lead to further prolongation of the war
Hungary drew attention to the risks inherent in the proposal.
Finally, on 17 October, Brussels announced the establishment of the mission ('EUMAM Ukraine'), which aimed, among other things, to contribute to increasing Ukraine's military capabilities and conducting Ukrainian military operations more effectively. The most important features of the program include that
- It will provide individual, collective and specialized training to the Ukrainian armed forces,
- It will coordinate the activities of the Member States aimed at supporting the implementation of the training, and
- The mission will operate in the territory of the EU Member States and not in Ukraine (its operational headquarters will be in Brussels).
Based on the fact that 'EUMAM Ukraine' has been launched and the details of the programme, it is clear that
Brussels continues to focus on improving Ukraine's battlefield positions, while the European Union has also moved one step closer to being involved in the war in military terms.
However, in order to curb the further prolongation of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict and the sanctions recession resulting from the introduction and maintenance of punitive measures,
it would be essential to promote a ceasefire as soon as possible and the start of peace talks. The rejection of the EU training of Ukrainian militants is significant.
The August research by Századvég, which mapped the public's perception of Brussels' sanctions and sanctions plans, as well as the European Union's policy related to the Russian-Ukrainian war, examined the opinion of Hungarians on the training of Ukrainian forces in the European Union.
According to the survey,
more than three-quarters (77 percent) of those surveyed do not agree with the European Union training Ukrainian soldiers.
This is less surprising in light of the fact that the
Hungarian population – as the September analysis of Századvég pointed out based on the trends of recent months – is strongly pro-peace
and consistently does not support steps that move further away from a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict, from reaching compromise.
CATI method, n=1000, among the adult Hungarian population, data collection: August 2022