70 billion on the brink: Orban blocks aid to Ukraine

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expressed his opposition to new EU financial support for Ukraine and changes to the European asylum system at an informal EU meeting in Granada. He commented on plans that provide for a financial injection of up to 70 billion euros for Ukraine by 2027: “Under no circumstances will we agree to an ill-considered budget expansion.” According to Orban, Hungary is pursuing the goal of a ceasefire and peace. He is of the opinion that additional arms deliveries would only prolong the duration of the deadly clashes.

Orban’s resistance to EU asylum reform

Orban expressed further opposition to the draft EU asylum reform, which provides for mandatory solidarity with countries that are severely affected by migration. He sees no further opportunities for compromise and agreement, especially after Hungary and Poland have been “legally raped,” as he put it.

He is referring to crucial decisions on the upcoming reform of the European asylum system, which were recently made by majority vote despite resistance from Hungary and Poland. Although opposing legal analyzes exist, both countries are of the opinion that such decisions should only have been made by consensus, i.e. without opposition.

Demand for consensus in asylum policy

The reference is made to declarations from EU summits in 2016, 2018 and 2019. An example from a text from the heads of state and government from June 2019 reads: “There must be a consensus for a reform of the Dublin Regulation on the basis of a balanced A relationship of responsibility and solidarity can be found.” Hungary and Poland interpret this to mean that from now on only decisions should be made by consensus in the entire asylum policy.

Above all, they are resisting plans that stipulate that countries with a high burden, such as Italy and Greece, should in future hand over some of their asylum seekers to other countries. Countries that do not want to accept refugees should therefore be obliged to pay compensation.

In the EU capital Brussels, Orban’s threats in the context of Ukraine support are taken seriously, because Hungary could block EU funding with a veto. However, it is considered likely that Orban could ultimately agree to the aid – especially if, in return, EU funds were released for Hungary, which are currently blocked in the country due to constitutional deficits.

Hank Peter

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