In a surprising turn of events, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has signalled a willingness to reconsider his position on utilizing the European Union budget to provide military aid to Ukraine. The announcement precedes a crucial emergency EU summit scheduled for Thursday, where leaders will deliberate on support for Ukraine amid escalating tensions. Reuters highlights the significance of Orban’s softened stance.
The change in Hungary’s position was revealed in an exclusive interview with the French weekly magazine Le Point. Balazs Orbán, the chief political adviser to the Hungarian Prime Minister, disclosed yesterday that Hungary is now open to the proposal of allocating 50 billion euros from the EU budget for Ukraine. The envisaged plan entails granting this financial aid over a four-year period.
Orban emphasized Hungary’s preparedness to be part of the collective decision-making process involving all 27 EU member states. However, a crucial condition laid out by Orban is the assurance that future decisions regarding the allocation of funds will be subject to an annual review. He stressed the importance of unanimous agreement, stating, “Hungary is ready to participate in the making of the general decision by the 27 EU member states, if it is guaranteed that in the future we will decide every year whether to give this money or not. And this annual decision must have the same legal reason, as now: it must be unanimous,” as quoted in the French magazine.
Historically, Viktor Orban has been a vocal critic of the EU’s financial and military assistance to Kyiv. Maintaining close ties with Moscow since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, Hungary notably stood as the sole EU member to withhold approval for the financial aid package for Ukraine during the December summit.