The pro-Kremlin head of the Hungarian government, Viktor Orban, decided to take Ukraine “hostage” in his fight for a reduction in frozen EU funds, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in an interview with Politico on Dec. 30.
The head of the Foreign Ministry explained that the veto imposed by Budapest on a package of financial support for Ukraine in the amount of €18 billion ($19.2 billion) was related to Orban’s desire to gain access to funds frozen by the EU due to corruption in Hungary and its problems in the issue of the rule of law.
In exchange for the lifted veto, member states agreed to reduce the amount of EU funds to Hungary that had been frozen over rule of law concerns, from €7.5 billion ($8 billion) to €6.3 billion ($6.7 billion).
“Hungary is playing its own game,” Kuleba said. “It took Ukraine as a hostage for its fight for money it believes the Commission (European Commission) owes to them.”
But there is a silver lining to what was perceived as a win for Orban against the rest of the EU, Kuleba said.
“The good news is that the Commission found the way how to make this financial aid to Ukraine possible without securing a vote by Hungary, so now we know for critical cases there is a solution.”
In addition to blocking financial aid to Ukraine, Orban also hinders its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and regularly prevents the introduction of new sanctions against the Kremlin regime.