Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made it clear that he does not intend to take over the presidency of the European Council, even though he was expected to temporarily hold the post due to the early resignation of Charles Michel.
Orban will, however, maintain his veto on the reform of the European Union budget, which includes an allocation of 50 billion euros for Ukraine. According to Orban, this aid harms the EU budget and he proposes to allocate more resources to the fight against immigration.
Orban refuses to take over the Presidency of the European Council
Viktor Orban, has made it clear that he has no plans to assume any European office, despite the fact that he was expected to temporarily hold the Presidency of the European Council due to the early resignation of Charles Michel. During a meeting with his Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico, Orban stated that he feels comfortable in his country and prefers to pursue his own European agenda.
“I have no plans to hold any European office. We feel good at home,” Orban declared.
Orban’s veto of EU budget reform.
Despite his refusal to take over the Presidency of the European Council, Orban will maintain his veto on the reform of the European Union budget. This reform includes an allocation of 50 billion euros for Ukraine, but according to Orban, this aid harms the EU budget and he proposes to allocate more resources to other areas, such as the fight against immigration.
Orban considers that giving away €50 billion from the EU budget in advance for four years is a violation of the Union’s sovereignty and national interests. He further states that it is uncertain what will happen in the future and that any financial instrument for Ukraine must be independent of the EU budget.
Orban’s proposal: an independent aid mechanism for Ukraine
In the face of the controversy surrounding aid to Ukraine, Orban has proposed the creation of a separate aid mechanism based on the allocation of aid according to gross national income (GNI).
According to Orban, if Brussels accepts this proposal, there will be aid for Ukraine outside the EU budget. However, if it is not accepted, Orban threatens to stop the process of aid to Ukraine.
Orban has blocked or threatened to block several European initiatives in the past, which has led to a proposal to reform the principle of unanimity in decision-making in the European Parliament. However, both Orban and Fico are against any measures that go against the sovereignty of their respective countries.
Slovakia’s position on Ukraine
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico shares Orban’s position on aid to Ukraine. Fico also believes that giving away a large amount of money from the EU budget to Ukraine in advance is problematic. Moreover, like Orban, Fico does not see a military solution to the war in Ukraine.
Fico has expressed concern about changes to the Slovak penal code and the abolition of the special prosecutor’s office, which will be debated in the European Parliament. He criticizes opposition MEPs and accuses them of harming the country by trying to damage the government.
Strengthening relations between Hungary and Slovakia
Despite differences over aid to Ukraine, Orban and Fico stress that Hungary-Slovakia relations are stronger than ever. Both leaders highlight the ties in terms of security, economy and energy, and how they are mutually reinforcing within the European Union.
The identity and sovereignty of each country are important aspects for both leaders. Orban emphasizes the importance of protecting borders and deciding who enters his country, while Fico is against the EU migration pact.
Viktor Orban maintains his veto on the EU budget reform because of the allocation of funds for Ukraine.
He considers this aid to be detrimental to the EU budget and proposes to allocate more resources to the fight against immigration. Orban has proposed the creation of a separate aid mechanism for Ukraine based on gross national income.
For his part, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico shares Orban’s position on aid to Ukraine and is also against measures that go against his country’s sovereignty.
Despite the differences, relations between Hungary and Slovakia are strong and mutually reinforcing within the European Union.