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Politico: Hungary may unblock EU aid for Ukraine if approved annually

by Martin Fornusek January 9, 2024 1:01 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban holds his annual press conference in the Carmelita monastery, the office of the Hungarian premier, in Budapest on Dec. 21, 2023. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)
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Hungary signaled that it might lift its veto of 50 billion euros ($55 billion) in EU funding for Ukraine if the aid is reviewed each year, Politico reported on Jan. 9, citing three EU diplomats.

The EU funding is crucial for Ukraine, which entered the third calendar year of the all-out war with Russia.

As Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocked the four-year financial support for Kyiv during a December summit, EU leaders are to reconvene on the matter on Feb. 1.

Budapest indicated it might withdraw its opposition if the European Council unanimously approves the funding on a yearly basis, Politico wrote, citing its sources.

This would theoretically allow Orban to exert concessions under the threat of renewed veto during each year's vote.

Some EU diplomats remain skeptical, as such a scheme would undermine the predictability of future support for Ukraine, Politico noted.

Budapest suggested already in 2023 to introduce funding for Kyiv on a yearly basis rather than as an overall four-year package.

Hungary made a concrete proposal during an EU budget experts' meeting on Jan. 5 and in a written document to the Belgian Council presidency, Politico said.

This plan reportedly included providing 12.5 billion euros ($13.7 billion) in grants and loans every year, which would eventually add up to a total sum of 50 billion euros ($55 billion).

The funding for Ukraine is part of a broader 100 billion euros ($110 billion) review of the EU's long-term budget known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

EU leaders hinted they are exploring alternatives for funding Kyiv should the plan fall through again. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the bloc's executive arm is reading "operational solutions" to assist Ukraine if Hungary maintains its opposition.

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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