Hungary Will Block EU Sending Another $19bn to Ukraine – Orban

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban applauds after delivering a speech, during an event to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet occupation, in front of the Mindszethyneum House, a newly inaugurated memorial of the clerical leader of the revolution, cardinal Jozsef Mindszenthy, in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, on …
ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

Any attempt by the European Union to send another $19bn to Ukraine will be blocked by Hungary, Viktor Orbán has declared.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has criticised the latest aid package the European Union is looking to send to Ukraine, with the Fidesz leader saying that his country will block any attempt at discharging the funds.

It comes as relations between Brussels and Budapest continue to sour, with the European Commission earlier this week recommending that billions of euros in EU funding for Hungary should remain frozen over a long-running row to do with the bloc supposedly having concerns over rule of the law under Orbán’s national conservative, anti-mass migration government.

However, according to a report by the Associated Press, Orbán does not appear to be officially linking the the hold on its funds to more funding for Ukraine, with the Hungarian leader instead taking issue with the fact that EU members would have to borrow money in order to send such a large amount to Ukraine.

Acknowledging that Ukraine needs help with its finances as a result of its ongoing war with Russia, Orbán nevertheless says that any aid should be agreed upon bilaterally between Ukraine and individual EU governments, and should not come in the form of a single transnational aid package that would put EU members in debt.

“The question is how to help Ukraine,” AP reports the Hungarian as saying. “One proposal says that we should use the budgets of the EU member-states to take out new loans together and use that money to give to Ukraine. We are not in favour of this because we do not want the European Union to become a community of indebted states instead of a community of co-operating member states.”

“We will not accept [this] plan, we will not consent to it, without us it will not come into being,” Orbán added.

Although Orbán has reportedly committed Hungary to providing up to $180 million to Ukraine, a figure that he believes will not harm Hungary’s long-term financial interest, the notion that his country will not support an EU-wide package will likely provoke further anger in Brussels.

After a brief attempt by EU and Hungarian authorities to smooth their issues over, the European Commission has now recommended that €7.5 billion of EU funds that had been due to Hungary should now be frozen, ostensibly over Hungarian judicial reform.

This follows the Hungarian general election earlier this year, during which many groups and organisations in the West desperately tried to push for a coalition of opposing parties including both the far left and far right to defeat the Fidesz government.

Ultimately these efforts ended up failing abysmally, with Orbán winning an even stronger mandate from voters.

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