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29 Sep, 2023 07:55

EU state sets condition for further Ukrainian aid from Brussels

Kiev should account for the funds it has already received from Brussels, Hungarian authorities say
EU state sets condition for further Ukrainian aid from Brussels

Budapest will block further EU aid to Ukraine if Kiev doesn’t account for the money it has already received from Brussels since the start of the conflict with Russia, a senior Hungarian government official has said.

“There are many technical ways to finance Ukraine and also help in the humanitarian field,” said Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office. He told a briefing on Thursday that Hungary had no objections to individual EU countries providing assistance to Kiev.

He said unanimity would be required regarding any changes to the EU budget, however, which is currently “on the table for amendment.”

Budapest will make sure that Ukraine “will not receive a single penny of new aid” if it can’t account for the funds it has already been given by the EU, Gulyas insisted.

In June, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen requested an increase of €66 billion ($69.9 billion) for the EU’s long-term budget, which includes €17 billion (around $18 billion) for providing grants for Ukraine.

According to EU data, the bloc and its individual members have supplied Kiev with more than $88 billion in financial, military, humanitarian, and refugee assistance since February 2022.

It’s “absurd and embarrassing” that Brussels keeps withholding EU funds from Hungary while looking for ways to find more money for Ukraine, Gulyas said.

“Let’s hope it’s not because the money was spent on something else, God forbid it was given to a country outside the EU,” he added.

The bloc suspended around €7.5 billion ($7.9 billion) of funds allocated to Hungary in 2022 over what it called rule-of-law concerns.

Hungarian authorities have taken a balanced approach to the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. While supplying humanitarian aid, Budapest has refused to send arms to President Vladimir Zelensky’s government. Hungary has also consistently called for a peaceful settlement to the crisis and criticized sanctions imposed by Brussels on Moscow, arguing that they were hurting the EU more than Russia.