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EU finds way to work around Orban's blocking of €50bn aid to Ukraine, sets date for extraordinary summit

15 December, 2023 Friday

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has vetoed the EU's decision on a €50 billion budget assistance program for Ukraine. However, the EU found a way to circumvent the blockade and set a date for an extraordinary summit

Bloomberg reported this.

Orban's blocking of EUR 50 billion for Ukraine

Orban said that Budapest would not support a new EU aid package for Ukraine until the bloc disburses all funds frozen for Hungary.

It is noted that when EU leaders meet again early next year to consider the EUR 50 billion package for Ukraine, Hungary will first make sure that it receives all of its own funds.

“This is a great opportunity for Hungary to make clear that it must get all of what it’s due,” the Hungarian prime minister said

He wrote about this in X.

According to him, the EU will return to considering the issue of financial assistance to Ukraine in early 2024.

"Summary of the nightshift: veto on extra money for Ukraine, veto on the MFF review.

We will come back to this issue next year after appropriate preparation," he wrote.

The Netherlands' response

Instead, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that 26 EU countries agreed to provide Ukraine with money from the EU budget until 2027, but Hungary was against this decision, which requires unanimity.

"We still have some time, Ukraine is not out of money in the next few weeks," he said.

The Ukrainian parliament's response

Instead, Ukrainian MP Danylo Hetmantsev explained that a package decision to amend the EU budget until 2027 was put to the vote.

"It's not just the issue of allocating funds for Ukraine, but also financing the Solidarity Fund and migration programs. The decision was vetoed by Hungary and postponed to an extraordinary EU summit, which may take place in early January. There is a lot of evidence that there is some bargaining going on within which the veto will be overridden and a decision will be made in January," the statement reads.

He emphasized that the promised support will definitely be there and it is "definitely not the end of the world."

"Budget financing will not stop from January 1, 2024. The government has enough liquidity to finance expenditures in January and February," the MP added.

The European Union has found a way to work around Orban's veto

Later, it became known that the European Union had found a solution to unblock financial aid to Ukraine after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the EUR 50 billion package. This was reported by DW, citing the words of Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

"When Ukraine is fighting militarily, we must also provide political support. We will reach an agreement on financial assistance. I can assure you that Ukraine will not be left without support, there are various ways to do this. I am almost certain that we will find a solution by January," she said.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo added that EU member states will be able to help individually or conclude separate agreements.

"The message to Ukraine is that we will be there to support you, we just need to work out some details together," he emphasized.

Subsequently, Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that the EU summit had reached a decision in principle to establish the EUR 50 billion Ukraine Facility for 2024-2027. This is stated on the ministry's website.

"This is a clear signal that the EU's financial support for Ukraine will continue. We expect all the necessary legal procedures to be completed in January 2024, which will allow us to receive the appropriate funding as soon as possible," the statement says. 

It is noted that EUR 50 billion will be used, in particular, to maintain macroeconomic stability, restore and modernize our country, and accelerate integration into the EU.

Michel announced the date of the extraordinary EU summit

Later, it became known that an extraordinary meeting of the European Council, which is to decide on the continuation of funding for Ukraine in the amount of EUR 50 billion for the period up to 2027, will be held in late January or early February. This was reported by Interfax.

"There is no date yet for the special summit to be held early next year. But it will be in late January or early February. But the date has not been confirmed yet," said Charles Michel, President of the European Council.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, added that the EU is working diligently to "get an outcome that involves the agreement of all 27 member states.”

"But I think we need to work on potential alternatives now to get a quick solution if the 27 - unity - is not possible," she said.

Michel emphasized that he is "extremely confident and optimistic that we will be able to fulfill our promises to support Ukraine financially.”

“In the coming weeks, I am confident that the decision will be formalized," said Michel.

  • Hungary is ready to lift its veto on the EU's proposal to fund Ukraine if the EU unfreezes €30 billion for Budapest.
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