The European Commission is working to find an alternative way to provide financial support to Ukraine if Hungary continues to obstruct it. “We are working hard to reach an agreement with all 27 member states, but it is now also necessary to consider alternatives,” President Ursula von der Leyen said after an EU summit in Brussels.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocked a new €50 billion aid package for Ukrainians during the summit on Thursday and Friday. He has said that this aid money should not be taken from the common European budget, but that member states should arrange it themselves.
Von der Leyen did not mention any examples of alternatives to a unanimous decision, but indicated that the Commission would work to find solutions in the near future “whatever happens at the next summit.” An additional EU summit is scheduled for the end of January or beginning of February to discuss the funds allocated to Ukraine again.
Charles Michel, head of the EU’s heads of government, expresses confidence that it will be possible to convince Hungary by then to participate in a joint solution, and says he will use “all possible arguments” to do so.
Orban has indicated that he will agree to aid Ukraine only if the Hungarians can claim subsidies that the EU has frozen. According to von der Leyen, clear criteria have been established for the release of these funds. This amount has not yet been paid because Budapest still has to implement reforms from Europe. Hungary, for example, must do a better job of tackling corruption and respecting academic freedom. Von der Leyen said that if Hungary improves and meets the conditions, it could also receive more money.
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