After President Zelensky’s inability to secure a $61 billion aid package from U.S. lawmakers for Ukraine, Hungary has rejected a $54 billion funding proposal from the European Union (EU) for the war-affected nation.
Following his departure from the EU leaders’ conference in Brussels on December 14, Prime Minister Orbán of Hungary expressed that the veto on additional funding for Ukraine would be reevaluated next year after thorough preparation.
Zelensky’s heavy dependence on financial support from the EU and the US to resist Russian forces makes his veto a significant setback. This decision has placed him in a considerably more challenging position, hindering his ability to secure the necessary funds to sustain the ongoing fight.
In a radio broadcast, Orbán asserted that he halted the aid plan for Ukraine as part of a multiyear strategy to secure the necessary funds for Hungary from the EU budget. His track record reveals a pattern of leveraging conflicts with other EU officials as a political tool to gain support domestically.
Initially anticipated as a brief conflict, the Russian invasion in Ukraine has unexpectedly prolonged, entering its third year due to the resilient Ukrainian resistance. However, Zelensky’s pledged military initiatives did not materialize in the second year, leading to concerns among lawmakers in Congress.
They are now questioning the extent of assistance that will be sought for Ukraine and contemplating the duration for which the United States can and should continue providing support.
The European Union initiated accession discussions with Ukraine, signaling the potential for the country to become a member of the 27-nation union, despite Orbán’s disapproval. Zelensky, aiming to align the nation more closely with the West, considers this a strategic objective in his efforts to strengthen ties with the European Union.
However, Orbán, maintaining robust ties with Russia, cautioned that Hungary could opt to reject the negotiations at any point, deeming it an unfavorable choice. The expansion of the union or the provision of assistance to Ukraine requires a unanimous decision from all 27 EU member states.