March 4, 2024

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Slovakia stands to lose a lot of European money by playing the 'Hungarian card'

Slovakia stands to lose a lot of European money by playing the 'Hungarian card'

InternationalDec 28 '23 at 8:36 PMAuthor of the book: Mirthe Westrick

Both the US and Europe are developing new support packages for Ukraine. Hungary opposes this support in Europe, but Slovakia, led by Robert Figo, is also important. Yet the latter country is still on board: “If Fico also plays the Hungarian card and makes his own plan, he will lose a lot of European money,” says Patrick Boulder of the Hague Center for Strategic Studies.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban 'doesn't play Europe's game, he plays his own game.' His self-interests outweigh European interests in the long run, which is why Europe has withheld money from him because his reforms haven't moved fast enough either, Boulder explains.

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Robert Figo's Slovakia has received crucial European money to support the economy, improve the country's accessibility and facilitate tourism. They are really interesting games.' Boulder says that if Orban gets a clear signal that he is not needed, Europe continues to support Ukraine without him and he gets less money, which could be a warning to Robert Figo.

America

In America, the Republicans are the obstructionists. They want the problems surrounding the Mexican wall to be solved first before dealing with the 'European problem,' Boulder explains. “It will be very bad news for Zelensky if this new package of support is the last,” Boulder notes. But he didn't think it would go that far. “It's part of a larger package that was already voted on last year, for which US President Joe Biden already had approval.”

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Presidential discretion

“If things don't move too quickly, Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, could sign presidential orders,” Boulder says. During his campaign days, Trump accused Obama of signing many of these idiosyncrasies, but Trump actually did it more often, Boulder explains. “But Biden is doing it now, and if it takes too long he can bypass Congress.”

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Boulder also thinks that Americans will eventually believe the fact that the money is not going to Ukraine, but is actually being spent in the US economy, in the US arms industry. This leads to higher quality jobs and greater prosperity in America. If the story is good enough, support packages will also go back, Boulder says.

Both the US and Europe are developing new support packages for Ukraine. Hungary opposes this support in Europe, but Slovakia, led by Robert Figo, is also important. Yet the latter country is still on board: “If Fico also plays the Hungarian card and makes his own plan, he will lose a lot of European money,” says Patrick Boulder of the Hague Center for Strategic Studies. Source: EPA/OLIVIER MATTHYS (ANP/EPA)