Hungary demanded 30 billion euros to unblock aid to Ukraine

Hungary will approve 50 billion euros for Ukraine through 2027 if the EU unfreezes 30 billion in aid to Budapest, Balazs Orban, the top political adviser to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said.

“EU funding for Hungary and EU funding for Ukraine are two separate issues. But if the EU insists that Ukraine’s financing should come from the amended EU budget, then the two issues become interconnected”, Balazs Orban told Bloomberg.

At the same time, he said, Budapest has not changed its position and opposes a four-year aid plan for Ukraine. Instead, Hungary proposes to approve funding for Kiev for one year without changes in the EU budget. If Brussels agrees with this approach, Hungary will “consider contributing” to this aid package, Orban said.

He also noted that as part of the negotiations on aid to Ukraine, Budapest is ready to consider the EU’s proposal to increase funding for border protection and additional subsidies to make the bloc’s economy more competitive.

At the same time, an adviser to the Hungarian prime minister emphasized that Ukraine’s membership in the EU remained a “red line” for Budapest. He explained this by the fact that Kyiv does not meet the criteria for this. Therefore, the start of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the bloc should be postponed to avoid “sending a negative signal” to Kyiv. “Sending a negative signal to Ukraine is the opposite of what Hungary wants”, Orban assured.

The EU has suspended the transfer of about 30 billion euros to Hungary due to problems with the rule of law and bribery. To unblock the amount, Budapest needs to fulfill a number of requirements – from ensuring academic freedom to protecting LGBT rights and granting asylum. The EU has until Dec. 13 to unblock 10 billion euros of the amount because Budapest has passed laws aimed at judicial independence. But Prime Minister Orban has said he expects the full amount.

In addition to Hungary, Slovakia has opposed the allocation of 50 billion euros to Ukraine over the next four years. Orban said Kyiv’s support was “not working,” while Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico cited corruption problems in Ukraine.

Hungary also opposed an €18 billion financial aid to Ukraine in 2022, but the EU subsidized Budapest and it relented. This year, should Hungary balk at approving the support, the EU may seek aid from the bloc’s countries individually to raise the needed amount through bilateral agreements, Reuters reported.

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