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European Commission urged not to "appease" Orbán for Ukraine

Tuesday, 5 December 2023, 19:17
European Commission urged not to appease Orbán for Ukraine
Stock photo: Getty Images

The European Commission has been urged not to "appease" Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán by unfreezing billions of dollars for Budapest further to his threats to sabotage the EU’s plans to start membership negotiations with Ukraine and supply Kyiv with more aid.

Source: European Pravda with reference to The Guardian

Details: The actions of the Hungarian government in recent years to undermine independent institutions have led Brussels to cease the allocation of €27 billion for Hungary.


However, recently the European Commission has made it clear that it may be ready to unfreeze up to €10 billion – allegedly due to the progress achieved by Hungary in judicial reforms. This has been revealed ahead of a meeting of European leaders planned for 14-15 December, when the EU’s 27 heads of state will discuss a proposed €50 billion aid package for Ukraine, changes to the EU budget and whether to give the green light to the start of EU accession talks with Kyiv.

The Hungarian government has threatened to block the decisions on all three issues many times.

Orbán’s critics are growing increasingly concerned that the EU will unfreeze some of the funds for Hungary in an attempt to convince Budapest to approve the agreement on financial aid for Ukraine and start EU accession talks. Daniel Freund, a German Member of the European Parliament from the Green Party and a critic of Orbán’s government, urged members of the EU on 4 December not to let this happen.   

"The Orbán government did not fulfil the necessary reforms. No money must flow. If the commission decides otherwise, it is only for one reason: they’re trying to appease Orbán who went completely overboard with his veto threat," Freund said.

In order to access the funds, Hungary must complete several reforms in areas such as the independence of the judiciary, transparency and fighting corruption. Brussels and Budapest negotiated for months while Hungary was implementing legal changes.

The European Commission now states that Hungary has achieved a lot in reforming the judicial system. Last week a representative of the European Commission told journalists that a decision could be made which would involve paying Hungary €500 million in the next few weeks and €10 billion in the next few years.

However, in a joint analysis published in mid-November, six leading Hungarian civil society groups said that "the judicial reform package adopted in May 2023 remains fundamentally deficient".

The group, which includes the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and Hungarian Helsinki Committee, concluded that "three out of the four" judiciary milestones "are implemented defectively even at the level of the legal framework, and there are areas where further proof is required of the proper implementation of the milestones to verify compliance".

Daniel Freund cautioned that unfreezing the funds for Hungary at this stage may create a risky precedent.

 "If Orbán succeeds, others will follow his example and abuse their veto…It will significantly weaken the European Union in the future," he said.


  • The European Parliament has already spoken out against unfreezing funds for Hungary.
  • Josep Borrell, Head of EU diplomacy, has stated that no one is forcing Hungary to be a member of the European Union.

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