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Zelensky holds call with von der Leyen

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 11, 2023 12:09 AM 2 min read
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President Volodymyr Zelensky give a joint press conference following their talks in Kyiv on Nov. 4, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky held a call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of meetings in Brussels this week that will determine future aid to Kyiv as well as Ukraine's EU accession.

The EU on Dec. 14-15 is set to vote on the bloc's budget that includes 50 billion euros of financial aid to Ukraine and the start of membership negotiations.

"We are counting on a positive decision regarding the allocation of 50 billion euros and the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU," Zelensky said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced he would block both decisions.

Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has repeatedly obstructed EU support for Kyiv, opposed sanctions against Russia, and threatened to thwart Ukraine's EU aspirations.

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.

The Hungarian leader is engaged in a long-running spat with Brussels, which is withholding 22 billion euros allocated for Hungary's economic development over fears of democratic backsliding and rule-of-law issues.

According to the Guardian's sources, the European Commission decided to unlock $10.7 billion since Budapest has completed necessary judicial reforms. The remaining funds will reportedly remain blocked due to a lack of compliance with other rule-of-law criteria.

Guardian: EU set to unlock part of frozen funds for Hungary
The European Commission is expected to unlock 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in frozen funds for Hungary, the Guardian reported on Dec. 8, citing anonymous diplomatic sources.
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