The positions of Hungary and the European Commission on 50 billion euros ($54 billion) for Ukraine remain far apart, making a potential agreement uncertain, the Telex news portal reported on Jan. 18, citing Hungarian minister Gergely Gulyas.
Budapest blocked the funding for Ukraine during the European Council summit in December 2023. EU leaders are to reconvene on the issue on Feb. 1, with Brussels signaling that a deal might be reached even without Hungary's approval.
The continued dispute "is not a tragedy," said Gulyas, the minister of the prime minister's office, at a governmental meeting on Jan. 17. According to the official, an agreement can still be reached by 2026, which is the last year of the seven-year financial framework regulating the EU budget.
"Hungary has not ruled out supporting Ukraine on a bilateral basis," Gulyas noted. Unlike many EU countries, Hungary has provided only limited humanitarian aid and no military material assistance to Kyiv.
The country also continues to undermine Western aid efforts and sanctions against Russia. Budapest has maintained warm relations with Moscow amid the all-out war, and Hungarian top officials have visited Russia repeatedly since February 2022.
According to Gulyas, "the possibility of improving relations between Hungary and Ukraine cannot be ruled out, and Hungary must strive for good relations with the neighboring country."
"We must not give up hope that there can be a change in Hungarian-Ukrainian relations," he added.
By the end of January, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto plans to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Ukraine's Uzhhorod to prepare for the potential high-level meeting between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Gulyas commented that a meeting between Zelensky and Orban should take place only if there is a specific purpose, not merely for publicity.