The 27 member states of the European Union (EU) continue to negotiate with Hungary and reach an “acceptable compromise” that unlocks 50 billion euros worth of financial aid to Ukraine. Budapest is “open” to using part of the Multiannual Financial Framework budget to finance the aid package, but “with reservations”, according to Viktor Orbán, the prime minister's political director. Reuters.
Pressure on Orbán has increased. The Hungarian prime minister has so far refused to use part of the European social budget to help the Ukrainian war effort. As a form of retaliation, the EU is considering sabotaging Hungary's economy if the prime minister does not lift the veto before a European summit in February, according to a working document from the EU Council Secretariat. Financial Times (FT) had access.
“Despite the fact that we proposed a compromise, Brussels is using threats against Hungary like there is no tomorrow,” Orbán's main political adviser Balas Orbán said via the social network X (formerly Twitter). He further explained that Budapest has sent a proposal to Brussels, “indicating that Ukraine is now open to using the EU budget for the package and issuing a general loan to finance it, if other conditions are added, Budapest will offer the opportunity to change. Mind you later.”
A senior European official said the document in question was “a context note, prepared by the Council Secretariat under its own responsibility, describing the current situation of the Hungarian economy” and “does not reflect the state of ongoing negotiations”.
So far, none of Orbán's proposals have been well received in Brussels. The Guardian newspaper reports'. “Hungary will have no choice but to veto the money four times or once,” a diplomat told the newspaper, bolstering hopes that a consensus would be reached. The release of the document by the FT to these diplomats helps demonstrate “how much risks” Hungary faces. The country takes over the rotating EU presidency in July, so, according to another diplomat, “Orbán is making Europe look weak”, which “can't continue”.
Earlier, the Hungarian prime minister blocked an EU budget review that included aid to Ukraine, prompting member states to call for an emergency summit.
Other news for tomorrow:
⇒ Zelensky warned that some European leaders risked flocking to financial and military aid if the US did not show positive signs. Some Republican members of Congress have blocked the 56.6 billion euro aid package. If Ukraine does not resist, or if sanctions on the Putin-ruled country are ended, this lack of support could leave Europe alone to block Russia's progress, as well as strengthen the ties some countries are establishing with Russia.
⇒ The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced the recovery of more than 36 million euros, which was transferred to a middleman to buy explosives at high prices. “We already know that the Ukrainian government and authorities have announced an investigation, and we will be following it very, very closely,” said Peter Stano, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Commission, who recalled that he also provided funding to Ukraine. Helps fight corruption.
⇒ An initial agreement was reached between the 27 EU member states to use the profits from frozen Russian assets to support the reconstruction of Ukraine for around 15 billion euros. Now, it remains to be seen whether the agreement is formally accepted.
⇒ Until the end of July 2024, the Council of the European Union renewed the economic sanctions imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine. These “cover a range of sectors, including trade, finance, technology, industry, transport and restrictions on luxury goods”. Consent measures have been approved in the last 12 packages already in force.
⇒ Ukrainian diplomatic chief Dmytro Kuleba met with Hungarian representative Peter Szyjardo in his first visit to Ukraine since the start of the Russian offensive, unlike his frequent visits to Moscow. The Hungarian minister believes the meeting helped take “encouraging first steps” but warns of a “long road”.
Here you can review everything that happened on the 702nd day of the war.
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