Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was absent from the room when the European Union leaders voted to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, which meant his veto on the decision was not in effect.
Source: senior EU officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, as reported by European Pravda
Details: Several European Council officials claim that Orbán deliberately left the meeting during the vote.
Quote: "The main thing is that no one opposed this decision. Thus, the European Union agreed on the decision to open negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova and to grant Georgia candidate status," an EU official said.
"Legally, this is absolutely in line with the rules. Yes, we have made a decision in Orbán’s absence, but not behind his back. He knew that this decision would be voted on and left the room," said a member of European Council President Charles Michel's team.
Sources also told European Pravda that the leaders of every other EU state voted in favour of opening accession negotiations with Ukraine. There were 26 votes in favour and one abstention.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself confirmed that he abstained from voting for the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union and did not change his attitude to this.
He posted a video on Facebook in which he reiterated Budapest's position that "Ukraine is not ready for us to start negotiations with it on EU membership".
"The decision to start negotiations with Ukraine under these circumstances is completely meaningless, irrational and wrong," he added.
At the same time, Orbán explained that after almost eight hours of discussion, the remaining 26 EU member states insisted on supporting negotiations with Ukraine and decided to "go their own way".
"Hungary does not want to participate in this very bad decision," the Hungarian prime minister added, so he abstained during the vote.
Previously: During a summit in Brussels, European Union leaders approved the European Commission’s recommendation to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova.