Luxembourg’s PM Accuses Orban of Blackmail
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban once again attracted the displeasure and anger of his EU partners on the second day of the EU summit in Brussels. The head of government, known for his frequent blockade of joint EU decisions, opposed the proposal of a 50 billion euro EU aid package for Ukraine together with Slovakia.
According to diplomats, Orban officially justified this with an alleged lack of clarity as to whether the previous aid had been used sensibly. However, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel accused Hungary of wanting to blackmail the EU. It cannot be the case that Orban ties his approval for new aid to Ukraine to the disbursement of EU funds for his country, criticized Bettel.
He was alluding to speculation that Orban’s aim in the blockade was actually to free more than 13 billion euros in frozen EU funding for his country. The EU Commission announced around a year ago that it would only release the funds if Orban’s right-wing nationalist government fully implemented promises to uphold the rule of law.
Orban was supported in his stance by the new Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. He called Ukraine “one of the most corrupt countries in the world” and demanded guarantees against the misuse of funds. He also demanded that part of the money go to securing the Slovakian-Ukrainian border and benefit domestic companies that contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Fico is considered pro-Russian and has already announced a halt to his country’s military aid to Ukraine. The left-wing populist only took office this week.
Orban’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing also caused anger in Brussels. “What he did with Putin is a stinking finger for all the soldiers and the Ukrainians who die every day and have to suffer from Russian attacks,” said Bettel.
Orban defended his meeting again. Hungary is pursuing a peace strategy and doing everything it can to create peace, he wrote on the online service X. The meeting with the Russian President should also be seen in this context.
Orban had already banned criticism of the meeting with Putin on Thursday. He said he was “proud” of his “peace strategy.” Hungary is the only country in Europe that supports peace between Russia and Ukraine.