30 Jan 2024 15:15

Hungary agrees to compromise on support for Kiev if updated every year - PM Orban

PARIS. Jan 30 (Interfax) - Hungary agrees on providing assistance to Ukraine if the European Union approves it annually rather than for the next four years at once, as it has been proposed now, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday.

"We've decided to make a compromise proposal. We disagree to amend the budget. We disagree that we should allocate a huge amount of 50 billion euros. We disagree to endorse it for four years at once," Orban said in an interview with Le Point.

"However, Hungary stands ready to join the decision of 27 EU countries if you guarantee that we'll decide every year whether to continue to allocate the funds or not," he said.

"We don't know what could happen in Ukraine even in the next three or four months," and therefore, it would be wrong to decide on financing for several years at once, he said.

Orban also listed a number of other reasons why Budapest is not willing to vote for allocating 50 billion euros for a four-year period.

"Nobody knows whether the Americans are going to join this [the financing of Ukraine]," Orban said, referring to the presidential election in the United States in November 2024.

"And why this figure? Why exactly 50 billion euros? We don't know for sure where this particular sum comes from," he said.

Orban said he understood the Ukrainians and their desire "to have a guaranteed huge amount of funding for as long a period as possible."

"However, we in Europe suffer increasingly more from poor economic indicators, and this money would be very helpful to European citizens, the French, Germans, Hungarians, or Poles," he said.

Orban said "there is no military solution" to the situation in Ukraine and the only possible option is a diplomatic settlement.

"We don't like the escalation of the fighting, we don't believe that a solution should be sought on the battlefield, we don't like this proposal," he said.

Last month, Budapest vetoed a 50-billion-euro aid package for Kiev for the period until 2027.

Orban said the EU's support for Ukraine must not harm the EU budget, while any funding for Ukraine must be separated from the EU budget.

Hungary had previously been opposed to providing 50 billion euros to Kiev from the EU budget. The EU leaders are to meet for a special summit to address the matter on February 1.