Hungary has proposed a “compromise” with the European Union regarding billions of euros in aid for Ukraine that it has blocked, a government official said Monday, ahead of an EU summit on the issue on Thursday.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in December vetoed 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in EU aid for Kyiv. Orban is the only EU leader to have maintained close ties to the Kremlin since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But this month he expressed willingness to allow the support for Ukraine, which would be given over four years, provided the support is kept separate from the EU’s budget and is reviewed annually.
The Financial Times reported over the weekend that Budapest sent a new proposal to Brussels on Saturday, “specifying it was now open to using the EU budget for the Ukraine package and even issuing common debt to finance it, if other caveats were added that gave Budapest the opportunity to change its mind at a later date”.
The report also said Brussels “has outlined a strategy to explicitly target Hungary’s economic weaknesses… if Budapest refuses to lift its veto against the aid to Kyiv,” citing a document drawn up by EU officials and seen by the Financial Times.
“Brussels is using blackmail against Hungary like there’s no tomorrow, despite the fact that we have proposed a compromise,” Orban’s political director Balazs Orban wrote on X, formerly Twitter, quoting the report. The advisor is no relation to the prime minister.
Hungary’s economy has been struggling, hit by record-high inflation since the Ukraine war pushed up prices across Europe.
Billions of euros in EU aid earmarked for Hungary remain frozen by Brussels pending progress on such issues as protecting academic freedom, ensuring the rights of LGBTQ people and accepting the rights of asylum seekers to claim protection.