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Politico: EU wants to punish Hungary for its obstructionism by limiting its roles in European Commission

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 30, 2024 5:42 PM 2 min read
EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi talks to the media on June 2, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. (Pool/Getty Images)
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EU members who are unhappy with Hungary's obstruction of collective support for Ukraine plan to respond by limiting the country's roles in the next European Commission, Politico reported on May 30, citing sources.

Budapest has repeatedly opposed Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU, sanctions on Russia, undermined Western aid efforts for Ukraine, and maintained close relations with Moscow throughout the full-scale war.

The ongoing Hungarian obstructionism has caused growing frustration from the EU, which is constrained by the need for unanimity on support for Ukraine.

Sources told Politico that there is "no appetite" in the EU for allowing Oliver Varhelyi, a Hungarian diplomat and the current European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, to keep his position in the forthcoming composition of the commission.

The role is influential and of crucial importance for Ukraine because of ongoing talks regarding its accession to the bloc.

Varhelyi recently attracted controversy after Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze claimed that he had been "threatened" by an EU Commissioner earlier in May, saying the unnamed official had referenced the assassination attempt of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and told him to be careful.  

After the incident, Varhelyi said he was the official in question and expressed "very sincere regret" that "a certain part of my phone conversation was taken out of context."

"After the disaster this time round with Varhelyi and the way Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is taking on (European Commission President Ursula) von der Leyen, there is no way she will hand over anything important (to) someone close to him," a diplomat told Politico.

EU ministers frustrated as Hungary blocks $7 billion in military aid for Ukraine
Hungary is blocking three separate 500-million-euro ($540 million) tranches under the European Peace Facility (EFF) fund, as well as 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) allocated for the Ukraine Assistance Fund, established within the EFF’s framework.
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