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EU unfreezes €10 billion for Hungary ahead of Ukraine-focused summit

Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 19:42
EU unfreezes €10 billion for Hungary ahead of Ukraine-focused summit
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Stock photo: Getty Images

The European Commission has unlocked €10 billion of EU funds for Hungary that had been frozen over rule-of-law issues on the eve of the EU summit. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had previously promised to block financial and political support for Ukraine during the meeting. 

Source: European Pravda with reference to a statement by the European Commission

Quote from the statement: "After a thorough assessment, and several exchanges with the Hungarian government, the Commission considers that Hungary has taken the measures it committed to take in order for the Commission to consider that the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is fulfilled in what concerns judicial independence.

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This means part of the above-mentioned funding would no longer be blocked, and therefore Hungary may start claiming reimbursements of up to around €10.2 billion."

The Commission noted that it will be closely monitoring the implementation of measures taken by Hungary, and if at any point in time the European Commission considers that the conditions are no longer being met, it may decide to block the funding again.

From now on Hungary will be able to apply for EU project funding and receive reimbursements in accordance with how EU funds are allocated.

The Commission made this decision after Orbán’s government adopted laws to strengthen judicial independence, the statement said.

Orbán has been threatening for weeks to veto both EU plans to allocate €50 billion for Kyiv over the next four years and the decision to open EU membership talks with Ukraine unless funding for Hungary is fully unlocked.

It is not yet clear whether the decision to unfreeze €10 billion will be enough to persuade Orbán to lift his veto. A senior Hungarian official said yesterday that his country wants over €30 billion to be unlocked.

Nevertheless, officials and diplomats hope that by 15 December it will be possible to agree on the financial aid package for Kyiv at least. 

President Zelenskyy revealed earlier that during a conversation with the Hungarian Prime Minister, he asked him to give him just one reason why Ukraine should not be a member of the EU.

On 13 December Zelenskyy also warned that if Hungary blocked the EU’s decision, it would mean that Putin had vetoed it

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