Orban is playing on both Russia's and EU's side — expert on Ukrainian-Hungarian relations
Director of the Institute for Central European Strategy (ICES), expert on Ukrainian-Hungarian relations Dmytro Tuzhanskyi says that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban may have initiated cooperation with Russia for his own interests
Tuzhanskyi said this in an interview with Espreso TV.
Commenting on the information that Hungary has been receiving a large amount of Russian gas in recent years, the expert said that this was once the case in Ukraine as well.
"As it used to be in Ukraine with all these schemes, it is very important to see the real scheme of Russian gas supplies to Hungary, pricing, to identify the companies profiting, what is the final price. Because Orban needs money, and Russia uses gas to influence. You know, in the case of Orban, I would not rule out that it is not Putin who imposes this model of relations, but Orban can initiate it himself, that is, these bargaining, which I mentioned earlier in the context of Brussels alone, is actually bargaining with everyone at the same time," explains the director of the Institute for Central European Strategy.
Tuzhanskyi emphasized that such a scheme of the Hungarian Prime Minister is very similar to what Ukrainian elites did in the 90s, "Being very short-sighted, they believed that they could, let's say, demand bribes or the best terms from all sides at once. However our elites miscalculated, unlike Orban, who at least managed to bring Hungary into the EU and NATO. This is the problem here."
Hungary’s position towards Ukraine
Earlier, the European Commission excluded Hungary from the economic stimulus program to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. This decision was made in response to indications of corruption and concerns about the Orban government's deviation from the principles of the rule of law. In particular, this included the persecution of members of the LGBT community.
After that, Hungary effectively vetoed the EU's decision to provide Ukraine with EUR 50 billion in economic assistance until 2027. Orban also threatens to block the start of negotiations with Ukraine on joining the EU.
The European Commission has recommended starting the process of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.
Orban's government also blocked a plan for EU military aid to Ukraine worth EUR 20 billion and opposed tougher sanctions against Russia.
There is currently no confirmation regarding whether Hungary has committed to the European Union to withdraw its veto once the EU funding is reinstated.
On November 9, the media reported that EU countries were considering an alternative financing plan for Ukraine in case Hungary vetoed the current EUR 50 billion offer.
On November 23, the EU approved the disbursement of EUR 900 million in advance payments under the previously frozen fund to support Hungary's economy.