Written by Anthony Constantini
What’s happening: When Russia unleashed its full-scale attack on Ukraine in February 2022, the European Union expressed solidarity with the invaded country. But now, after nearly two years, that unanimity is starting to crack under a growing number of Ukraine skeptics.
What’s causing the shift? The impact the surge of refugees has on strained host countries: nearly 6 million Ukrainians have fled to other parts of Europe. A year ago, surveys showed around two-thirds wanted to return home. Now, experts suggest that as few as 46 percent will return home. In Germany, nearly half of Ukrainians wish to stay.
- Hungary: Hungary has long taken issue with Ukraine’s treatment of Hungarian minorities, such as laws targeting Hungarian-language schools. This, coupled with their reliance on Russian gas and anger at Brussels’ consistent interference in their domestic affairs, has resulted in Hungary being the most Ukraine-skeptic country in the Union.
- Slovakia: With the recent Slovak elections, Bratislava will soon host one of Europe’s most Ukraine-skeptic governments. The presence of migrants, Ukrainian and otherwise, along with Slovakia’s historically pro-Russian sentiments, triggered a wave of discontent among the population, which former Prime Minister Robert Fico rode to power.
Who could be next: Neutral Austria looks poised to elect the Ukraine-skeptical Freedom Party. The German government also may lean into its already somewhat skeptical stance in order to stave off the rising popularity of Alternative for Germany, the populist political party known for rallying against migration.