16 Jan 2024 19:41

EU must not help Kiev to detriment of its budget - Hungarian PM

BRUSSELS. Jan 16 (Interfax) - The European Union's aid for Ukraine must not harm the EU budget, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.

"If we want to help Ukraine, which I think we need to do, we have to do it in a way that doesn't harm the EU's budget," Orban was quoted by western media as telling a press conference in Budapest.

"But to give away 50 billion euros from the EU budget for four years in advance is a violation of the EU's sovereignty and national interests. We do not even know what will happen in a quarter of a year," he said.

Any Ukraine funding should be allocated separately from the EU budget, otherwise Budapest will stop the process of helping Kiev, Orban said.

He was speaking in the Hungarian capital after meeting with Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico who in turn ruled out a military solution to the Ukrainian conflict.

Hungary has expressed its opposition to plans to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros from the EU budget, the media said. EU leaders are going to hold a special summit on February 1 to discuss the issue.

Earlier on Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the EU aid for Ukraine must continue.

Last week, the European Council said its Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) had approved a partial negotiating mandate for a 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine, despite Budapest not dropping its threat to re-impose a veto at the February 1 summit that will again attempt to review a long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, including the multibillion aid for Ukraine until 2027.

European diplomats worked out a compromise-based solution that should help overcome the Hungarian blockade of the Ukraine macrofinancial assistance until 2027, the Euractiv website said. Hungary may approve such funding if the 50 billion euro package is divided into four 12.5 billion euro packages with annual decision-making on them, Euractiv said.

At an EU summit in December 2023, Orban vetoed a resolution to allocate 50 billion euro aid for Ukraine in the framework of the EU budget being reviewed.