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Bloomberg: EU weighs alternative Ukraine aid plan in case of Hungary's veto

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 9, 2023 10:09 PM 3 min read
European Union flags decorates the façade of the iconic Berlaymont building, the seat of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, on May 31, 2023. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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European Union members are considering an alternative plan to aid Ukraine in case Hungary vetoes the current package of 50 billion euros ($53.4 billion), Bloomberg reported on Nov. 9, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

The plan would involve national guarantees from member states to raise funding in the markets if Budapest blocks the review of the EU's long-term budget, which includes the Ukraine aid package, the people said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has opposed including the $53 billion package to finance Ukraine's recovery in the EU's budget, which requires unanimous agreement from all 27 member nations to be approved.

As EU leaders are expected to reach a consensus on future assistance for Ukraine by the last month of 2023, some member states have favored finding an alternative solution to aid Ukraine to increase pressure on Orban, according to Bloomberg's sources.

However, Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino, whose country currently enjoys the rotating EU presidency, and European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis reportedly expressed hope to reach a consensus within the long-term budget.

"We need to make rapid progress with adopting the Ukraine facility," Valdis told a news conference, as cited by Bloomberg. "Last year, we were indeed discussing Plan B. We were able to avoid this scenario last year, so I hope we will also be able to avoid this scenario this year."

Exclusive: New insights point to Hungary’s collaboration with Moscow on transfer of Ukrainian POWs
In early June, a bizarre and mysterious joint operation was carried out between two of Ukraine’s neighbors, one to the east and one to the west. Eleven Ukrainian soldiers, after having been held in Russian captivity for an unknown amount of time, were moved from Russia to Hungary. Although

Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has repeatedly obstructed EU funds for Kyiv while opposing sanctions against Russia. Orban, who maintains close ties with the Kremlin, has refused to provide military aid to Ukraine and claimed that Kyiv's counteroffensive was destined to fail.

Orban has also accused Ukraine of violating the rights of ethnic Hungarian minorities, a claim used to justify Budapest's limited support.

A senior Hungarian official said earlier on Nov. 7 that Hungary would not allow the start of the EU entry talks, recommended by the European Commission, as long as Ukraine's language law, long derided by Budapest, remains in place.

The language law that has long been a source of strife between Hungary and Ukraine was instituted in 2017 and requires at least 70% of education above fifth grade to be conducted in Ukrainian.

Ukraine has significant Hungarian and Romanian minorities, and both Hungary and Romania have criticized the law as discriminatory. Ukraine responded that it does not intend to crack down on its minorities, only to ensure that every Ukrainian citizen has sufficient knowledge of Ukraine's official language.

Deputy PM: Despite Hungary’s rhetoric, work to solve minorities issue underway
Kyiv is in constant contact with Budapest to resolve the issue of the language of education of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Olha Stefanishyna told European Pravda on Nov. 7.
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