Orbán promises Ukraine billions in EU money – not without conditions

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Hungary's veto blocked EU billions for Ukraine. But at a special EU summit in Brussels, Viktor Orbán dropped his opposition.

Updated as of February 1, 3:10 pm: The deal came faster than expected at a special EU summit: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán blocked EU aid to Ukraine. All 27 heads of state and government have approved a planned support package worth 50 billion euros – including Hungary. The breakthrough came after a small meeting attended by Chancellor Scholes.

A compromise plan put forward by Orbán did not materialize: he called for the EU to vote on aid to Ukraine every year. However, Hungary had a small concession: the other 26 countries offered to discuss aid to Ukraine again at a senior level two years later. However, changes must be decided unanimously. So it is not enough for Hungary alone to call for a new debate.

First report: Orbán promises Ukraine EU billions – under one condition

BRUSSELS — For months, the European Union has been wrestling with Hungary over billions in aid promised to Ukraine. Specifically, in 2027 it will be around 50 billion euros. Viktor Orbán doesn't seem to be backing down from his veto for long. He told the French press in an interview ahead of a special EU summit on Thursday pointHow can he still support the aid package?

The right-wing populist explained that he was ready to be “part of the solution”. However, he can agree to release the funds only if a new referendum is held every year. He could not support a bill that would have regulated payments until 2027. Loud dpa In this context, Orbán also refers to the upcoming EU elections in June. If the funding is given now for the next four years, voters may get the impression that their vote won't matter anyway.

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“Emergency break” for Orban? Diplomats make a counterproposal to Hungary

Within the EU, Hungary's head of government is completely alone with his positions; Only controversial populist Slovakian Robert Figo wants to side with his neighbor in doubt. All other EU member states reject the annual referendum and accuse Hungary of intimidation. Orban is trying to use the veto policy to release EU funds that have been frozen due to concerns about the rule of law. An annual referendum means Hungary can veto it every year. However, Ukraine urgently needs planning and secure, long-term support.

Ursula van der Leyen's critics accuse the EU Commission of allowing herself to be threatened by Hungarian President Viktor Orbán. (Archive photo) © Ludovic Marin/AFP

EU diplomats and officials have responded with a counter-proposal to Orban's request. Instead of unanimously resolving aid to Ukraine every year, they could envision a kind of “emergency break,” the news agency reported. afp outside. This would allow the Hungarian head of government to hold annual discussions on aid.

War in Ukraine: Zelensky will continue to swear by the EU

The debate reiterates the different perspectives on Russia that the EU and Hungary have repeatedly clashed with. “We don't want war to escalate,” says Orban. “Securing an agreement is very important for our credibility,” explains EU Council President Charles Michel.

At a special EU summit on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj plans to address participants via video link and once again vow to unite the EU. Chancellor Olaf Scholes (SPD) wants to urge his European counterparts to provide national aid in addition to the EU budget. Germany ranks first in Europe with €7 billion pledged for 2024. (lm/dpa/afp)

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