EU pressure on Orbán to lift Hungarian veto on Ukraine funding

EU pressure on Orbán to lift Hungarian veto on Ukraine funding

EU is stepping up its pressure on Hungary and its prime minister, Viktor Orbán, over the blocking of funds earmarked for Ukraine.

According to diplomatic sources, member states are increasingly frustrated with the stance of Orbán, who refuses to approve the financial lifeline for Ukraine, which has been resisting Russian aggression for nearly two years.

EU frustration and warning to Hungary

Patience is wearing thin for the European Union when it comes to Hungary and its blocking of funds earmarked for Ukraine. In a crucial week for Ukraine, several European leaders are issuing a final warning to Hungary to lift the veto at a European summit called to address the issue.

The EU is pressing and negotiating with Budapest for a deal to approve 50 billion euros over four years for Ukraine within the EU budget.

Mutual blackmail and extraordinary measures

In the midst of negotiations on the financial lifeline for Ukraine, Hungary has accused the EU of blackmail, while the EU criticizes Hungary’s blockade and its policy of coercion. Several member states are considering taking extraordinary measures against Budapest if it continues to block funds for Ukraine.

Some of these measures could include withholding European funds that Brussels is holding back because of Hungary’s violations of the rule of law, or even skipping Hungary’s turn to chair the EU Council.

Difficulties in taking drastic measures

Although some member states are in favor of taking tougher measures against Hungary, it is difficult to reach a unanimous consensus. A decision to withdraw Hungary’s voting rights, for example, requires unanimity and not all member states are willing to go that far.

However, several European leaders have made it clear that Hungary will face complete isolation if no agreement is reached. The country’s credibility would also suffer, both politically and economically.

Role of EU funds in Hungary’s blockage

Hungary’s blockade of funds for Ukraine is closely linked to the release of European funds withheld due to violations of the rule of law. In December, the European Commission unfroze €10.2 billion to Hungary, but kept €21 billion withheld. Orbán has linked his decision to block funds for Ukraine to the release of these withheld funds.

However, some member states consider it necessary to restart the process against Hungary for its violations of the rule of law, which could lead to the loss of its voting rights.

Debate on restarting proceedings against Hungary

Some member states believe that the time has come to seriously consider the debate on reopening proceedings against Hungary for its violations of the rule of law. However, such a decision requires unanimity and not all member states are willing to go that far.

Despite growing frustration, some European leaders believe that there is still room for maneuver and that now is not the time to take drastic measures.

Hungary’s economic and financial dependence

An internal analysis document of the European Council reveals Hungary’s extremely high dependence on EU funds. The paper describes the serious problems the country would face if it cannot access such funds and notes that European leaders could talk publicly about withholding funds if a deal on Ukraine is not reached.

This could drive investors away and further worsen Hungary’s economic situation.

Hungary’s proposal and conditions for accepting the deal.

Hungary has proposed conditions and concessions to accept a deal on funds for Ukraine. Budapest wants an annual review of the funds sent and more funds for EU external border surveillance.

It also seeks a clause allowing member states more time to spend the funds allocated for the recovery fund.

These conditions could satisfy Hungary without giving it the ability to veto aid for Ukraine on an annual basis.

Discussion of plan B and alternative options

So far, a plan B for sending funds to Ukraine without Hungary’s approval has not been discussed. While there is an option to do so without Hungary’s participation, several member states would need the approval of their parliaments, which would slow down and complicate the process.

However, European leaders are determined to keep Ukraine alive in its fight against Russia, as the €50 billion earmarked for Ukraine over four years is crucial for the country’s functioning and avoiding a collapse.

Growing concern and the role of voting rights.

Concern among European leaders is growing due to Hungary’s stance and its blocking of funds for Ukraine. Some leaders see the withdrawal of voting rights and the freezing of funds as the most effective measures to pressure Hungary.

However, they also insist that these measures should be linked to violations of the rule of law, not the Hungarian veto on Ukraine.

Hungary-Ukraine meeting and hope for a breakthrough

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó met for the first time with his Ukrainian counterpart in Kiev. The two agreed to set up a bilateral commission to resolve disagreements between the two sides within 10 days.

This meeting, held in the city of Uzhgorod, could help to break the Hungarian resistance and allow the approval of the European aid package for Ukraine.

Consequences of the lack of funds for Ukraine

If European funds are not released for Ukraine, the country would face serious economic difficulties. According to an internal document published by EL PAÍS in December, Ukraine could be forced to leave two million civil servants without pay.

In addition to the economic impact, this would also jeopardize Ukraine’s stability and resilience in the face of Russian aggression.

Future of negotiations and the importance of an agreement.

Hungary’s blocking of funds for Ukraine is a matter of great importance for the European Union. The approval of the €50 billion over four years is critical to ensure Ukraine’s survival in its fight against Russia.

Failure to reach an agreement will leave Hungary completely isolated and facing serious political and economic consequences. The EU continues to put pressure on Hungary to lift the veto and allow Ukraine to receive much-needed financial assistance.

Conclusion

It is a fact that the European Union is increasing pressure on Hungary and its Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, to lift the veto on funds to Ukraine. The EU is frustrated by Orbán’s stance and is considering extraordinary measures if the blockade continues. Hungary has proposed conditions and concessions to accept a deal, but negotiations are still ongoing.

Approval of the funds is crucial to Ukraine’s survival and its resistance to Russian aggression. The EU continues to put pressure on Hungary to reach an agreement and allow Ukraine to receive the necessary financial assistance.