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An account of how PM Orbán was pressurised to agree to the Ukraine aid package

February 6th, 2024

According to a leaked story from the day preceding last week’s EU summit, EU leaders divided roles among themselves in a concerted effort to persuade the Hungarian leader to drop his veto.

On Index, Gyula Szabó writes that Union leaders used ‘good cop – bad cop’ tactics to get Mr Orbán to acquiesce in the 53 billion Euro aid package to Ukraine. Quoting among others a New York Times report on the issue, he writes that the role of ’bad cop’ was played by Charles Michel, the President of the European Council who reportedly talked to the Hungarian Prime Minister about certain member countries ready to try and strip Hungary of its voting rights in case he refused to accept the aid package. Then as ‘good cops’, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Emmanuel Macron of France are both believed to have talked to him about the advantages that accepting the deal would provide to Hungary and proposed amendments that would make it more palatable for the Hungarian side.  Szabó then also quotes PM Orbán himself who said he agreed to the package because his misgivings about committing huge amounts of money for a long period without a robust monitoring procedure were recognised as justified and a system of regular revisions was included in the adopted resolution. Another amendment that helped convince the Hungarian Prime Minister to soften is one declaring that no countries should be discriminated against in the distribution of cohesion and structural EU funds.


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