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First reactions to the EU deal over aid to Ukraine

February 3rd, 2024

A left-wing commentator writes that PM Orbán gave in to pressure by agreeing to the Ukrainian aid package, while a pro-government observer calls the result a sensible compromise.

In his biweekly Friday radio interview one day after the Brussels summit, PM Viktor Orbán said if he hadn’t approved the 53 billion aid package to Ukraine, EU funds for Hungary would have been withheld, while the rest of the member countries would have found a way to send the money to Ukraine all the same. By agreeing with them, he explained, Hungary obtained an assurance that the funds withheld from Hungary would not be channelled to Ukraine and that the EU would regularly supervise the use of the aid package.

In Népszava, Tamás Rónay remarks that in the government’s recent ‘national consultation’, one and a half million respondents agreed with the proposal ‘not to send more money in support to Ukraine as long as we haven’t received the money due to us’. Now, although hundreds of millions of the 30 billion Euros due to Hungary have actually been transferred, Rónay writes, it looks like the government folded in the face of pressure. And, he adds, that has happened for the second time in 45 days, as in December Mr Orbán gave up his opposition to launching accession negotiations with Ukraine.

On M1, the national public TV channel, constitutional lawyer Zoltán Lomniczi Jr said the plan to disburse over 50 billion Euros to Ukraine without a precise schedule about how exactly that money will be spent, was a ‘crazy project’. However, with the compromise proposed by the Hungarian Prime Minister, he added, namely that there will be an annual revision within the European Council and that funds destined for Hungary would not be used up in that project, the package has become sensible. He added that other countries also had misgivings about the original plan but found it more comfortable to let Mr Orbán oppose it on his own.


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