EU Council, Hungary blocks 50 billion euros in aid to Ukraine

The second day of the European Council in Brussels began with Viktor Orban who blocked 50 billion euros of European aid for Ukraine. A gesture that occurred after the approval of Kiev’s accession negotiations to the Union. The Hungarian Prime Minister put forward his proposal, characterized by a sort of “blackmail”, requesting the release of European funds intended for his country, previously blocked due to violations of the rule of law. All this would have happened in exchange for the approval of the aid package intended for Ukraine. The Kremlin welcomed Orban’s move, saying Hungary was independent enough to defend its interests.

Yesterday’s day and today’s stalemate

Yesterday, the start of Ukraine’s accession negotiations with the European Union was considered a diplomatic success, with Viktor Orban leaving the room at the suggestion of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. This move allowed the other countries to vote unanimously, thus avoiding Orban being forced to vote in favor or use his veto power. Despite Hungary’s criticism of the decision, the country opted out of participating in the vote.

However, Hungary stressed that This will not be the last occasion on which his consent will be sought in a possible Ukrainian accession process to the EU. Viktor Orban told Radio Kossuth this morning that there will be 75 more occasions when Hungary can block the trial.

Despite the obstacle created by Orban, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, declared at the end of the first day of the community summit: “We have the tools necessary to ensure our reliability. Ukrainians can count on our support and the aid package, for which there is broad political consensus among 26 member states.” Regarding the review of the European Union budget, the Council failed to reach an agreement and postponed the decision to early 2024.

During the first day of the summit, Orban had given in on opening up to Ukraine, while vetoing further economic support for the Zelensky government. The 12th package of sanctions against Russia was also approved. “I have always said that if someone wants to change the budget, then it is a great opportunity for Hungary to make it clear that it must get what it is entitled to. Not half, or a quarter,” he said.

The vote on the multi-year budget is also skipped

In addition to the Hungarian block on funds to Ukraine there is also the one on multiannual financial framework, always because it would require adding additional funds for Ukraine. The agreement on the revision of the European Union budget “received the support of 26 member states. Therefore, we will return to look into this issue early next year and we will try to reach a unanimous consensus,” Michel declared again. He then added: “Despite this, we sent a far-reaching message about enlargement: it was a historic day.” The focus of today’s summit will be on several issues on the agenda, including the Middle East, migration and the fight against anti-Semitism.

European sources have also signaled that they are moving towards convening an extraordinary European Union summit in early 2024 to conclude negotiations on the budget review for the period 2021-2027. The meeting is expected to take place between January and February.