16:10 23 Nov 2023

EU Commission approves €900 mln for Hungary to override its veto on Ukraine accession

Photo: АР

The EU executive approved 900 million euros in advance payments to Hungary under its frozen share of recovery funds as the bloc seeks to overcome Budapest's veto of aid to Ukraine, Reuters reports. 

The EU Commission locked Hungary out of the bloc's post-pandemic economic stimulus due to concerns over corruption and backpedaling on democratic checks and balances under veteran Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The EU is preparing a financial assistance package for Ukraine worth about 50 billion euros over 2024-2027. The 27 EU member states are to vote on this aid package at a December 14-15 summit.

Hungary intends to block the EU's decision to provide Ukraine with financial economic assistance until 2027 and to start negotiations with Kyiv on joining the EU, which is expected next month.

The Prime Minister said that he does not support the advancement of negotiations on Ukraine's future membership in the EU. He once again clarified that his country could become the main obstacle to Kyiv's EU membership path.

Orban also denied that Hungary's opposition to Ukraine's EU membership negotiations is related to money, dispelling suspicions that his government was using its vote on Ukraine to pressure the EU.

Hungarian government "will not accept" pressure from the EU to support Ukraine's membership bid in exchange for the funds.

The EU has a "plan B" for the additional €50 billion. Asked whether the EU would go down this path again if Hungary blocked the aid, European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said this week:

"Last year we did discuss a 'plan B'… But we managed to avoid this scenario last year. I hope we will be able to avoid this scenario this year as well."

The bloc is ready to offer a financial aid package of about 50 billion euros to support Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. The Commission will offer assistance through grants, soft loans, and guarantees.

The package aims to combine aid used to pay salaries, pensions, and some public services and the costs associated with restoring basic infrastructure.

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