European Union leaders are prepared to take harsh measures against Hungary if Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continues to block a $54.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on 22 Jan.
EU member states are ready to approve the aid package for Ukraine at the Brussels summit on Feb. 1, regardless of Hungary’s support.
Read also: European Parliamentarian invokes Article 7 of EU Treaty in bid to suspend Hungary’s voting rights
A potential alternative involves bypassing Orbán’s blockade of the aid package, with the rest of the EU member states directing funds to Ukraine outside the EU budgetary process. The proposal would involve providing national guarantees to attract funding in the market if Hungary continues to block a joint decision. This could lead to an “escalation,” including the launch of a new stage of punitive measures against Budapest by the EU, which could result in Hungary losing its voting rights.
However, this scenario could also lead to a broader conflict, as Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico last week warned other leaders that he would protect Hungary from any potential steps aimed at depriving Orbán’s government of its rights in the bloc.
Read also: European Parliament opens vote of no confidence over unfreezing Hungary funds
Hungary opposed a proposal to create a new fund to provide a more reliable way of sending critically important military aid to Ukraine on Jan. 22. That same day, after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó stated that his country does not support the reform of the current funding mechanism, known as the European Peace Facility.
Szijjártó also added that this issue will be discussed during his meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Jan. 29. Budapest will consider lifting the blockade if Ukraine provides “guarantees” that Hungarian companies will not be added to the list of sponsors of the international war.
Approval of providing Ukraine with $54.3 billion is far off, but bilateral assistance is possible, Hungary stated on Jan. 18.
At the EU summit in December, Orbán blocked the adoption of an EU budgetary decision, which included a medium-term aid program for Ukraine.
Ukraine would receive $54.3 billion in aid from the European Union despite Hungary’s resistance, stated German Foreign Ministry at the end of December.
The EU is preparing an alternative plan to provide Ukraine with €20 billion ($21.74 billion) in financial support, bypassing Orban’s veto, the Financial Times reported. The proposed mechanism could be used if Orban’s veto is not overcome at the planned summit on Feb. 1.
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