Factbox-Eyes on Hungary after EU’s decision to give more aid to Ukraine


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to give Ukraine 50 billion euros ($54 billion) of new financial aid and replenish funds used to arm Kiev, diplomats and officials said. Will try, but Hungary may block these measures.

Western support is existential for Ukraine as it fights against a full-scale invasion by Russia. Moscow two years ago launched a war against its neighbor – a former Soviet republic that now wants to join the EU and NATO.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban touts his ties to the Kremlin, while other factions seek to isolate Moscow during the war. Budapest has already vetoed aid to Kiev last month, and has expressed criticism over military aid.

The EU’s 27 national leaders, meeting in Brussels, must agree unanimously to approve aid to Ukraine from their shared budget.

With the stakes so high, the bloc has stepped up pressure on Orbán, although sources in Brussels, the center of the EU, said ahead of the summit that they did not know whether Budapest would agree to what the other 26 member states are determined to do. Are.

Latest photos from Ukraine

Bakhmut region, Ukraine – 3 November: Ukrainian military special forces unit fires RPGs at enemy positions "Kurt & Co Group" Capture the first line of the front line of the Russian-Ukrainian war in the Bakhmut district of Ukraine on November 3, 2023.  Ukrainian forces are struggling to retake Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May after a year-long war.  In the summer, Ukraine recovered the area north and south of Bakhmut, but Russia occupied the city itself.  (Photo by Kostya Liberov/Libcos/Getty Images)

Here’s what EU leaders will discuss behind closed doors:

No agreement has yet been reached with Budapest to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros from the bloc’s common budget by 2027, sources said late Wednesday.

To win over Orbán, the bloc proposed an annual debate on the matter, but not a full budgetary review, which would give Budapest the right to veto each time.

While formally separate, the discussions overlap with a long-running feud between the EU and Orban in which billions of euros in the bloc’s shared coffers destined for Budapest have been frozen over democratic backsliding in Hungary.

Should Orbán stick to his guns, the EU is also considering alternative ways to support Ukraine. However, each of them will be more complex, lengthy, or expensive.

The draft summit conclusions left open whether leaders would promise to inject an additional 5 billion euros into a fund called the European Peace Facility (EPF), which has been used to control arms donations to Kiev.

EU members have been sparring for months over the future of the fund’s role in military aid to Ukraine, with Germany suggesting the focus should now be on bilateral aid from individual countries.

The EU will fall far short of its target of sending one million artillery shells to Ukraine by March, the bloc’s top diplomat said on Wednesday.

For its part, Hungary has stepped up its criticism of EU military support for Ukraine, and in the past has blocked payments worth hundreds of millions of euros from the EPF.

NATO awaits Hungary’s approval for Sweden

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christerson said he would meet Orban in Brussels, Hungary is the only NATO member yet to approve Stockholm’s membership in the alliance after Turkey gave it the green light after months of delay.

Most EU countries are also NATO members but the two organizations are separate and Thursday’s summit will not decide on the membership application filed by Sweden following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

EU leaders are also expected to discuss rising spending on migration management, Israel’s war with Hamas and the situation in the Middle East, as well as the farmer strikes taking place in several European countries.

(Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters,


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