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Macron confident EU can fund Ukraine even without Orban

by Martin Fornusek December 15, 2023 10:13 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) talks with French President Emmanuel Macron (R) prior to the start of the second day of an EU Summit in the Europa building, the EU Council headquarters on Oct. 21, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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The EU should be able to financially support Ukraine even if Hungary continues obstructing the assistance, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Dec. 15, The Guardian reported.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the funding for Ukraine during the European Council summit, although his abstention from a previous vote allowed an agreement on accession talks with Kyiv.

While EU leaders prefer a unanimous agreement on the 50-billion-euro ($55 billion) funding for Kyiv, they believe they can collect the sum in loans and cash without Orban's support, The Guardian wrote.

"I think we can fund Ukraine if we are totally blocked next year," Macron told reporters after the EU summit in Brussels.

Orban, who is considered close to Moscow, has long opposed support for Ukraine, pointing out what he calls rampant corruption and criticizing an apparent lack of long-term strategy on Brussels' part. Macron believes that Orban is dishonest about the reasons for blocking the aid.

"It is a great opportunity for Hungary to make it clear that it must get what it is entitled to. Not half of it, or one-fourth," Orban said about the talks.

The Europan Commission unblocked $11 billion in funds for Hungary shortly before the summit but insisted it was merely in reaction to Budapest's internal reforms.

Macron said he expected Hungary to "go beyond posturing" and "behave like Europeans and not take the political progress hostage."

After failing to reach a consensus on Ukraine funding and other budget issues during the Dec. 14-15 meeting, EU leaders are expected to reconvene early next year.

The bloc's representatives said earlier that the EU is considering possible workarounds if Hungary continues to block further support for Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference during the summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the bloc hopes to achieve unanimity, but "potential alternatives" are also being discussed ahead of the next meeting.

"We will use  –  as the Commission –  the time until then to ensure that whatever happens at this next EUCO (European Council meeting), we will have an operational solution," von der Leyen pledged.

Hungary blocks 50-billion-euro EU aid for Ukraine
Hungary has obstructed the European Union’s endorsement of a financial assistance package for Ukraine consisting of 50 billion euros ($55 billion), following EU leaders’ formal approval to commence accession negotiations with Ukraine, marking a significant milestone for Kyiv in its efforts to streng…
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