The threat by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban to block financial and political support for Ukraine during the EU meeting prompted the European Commission to unfreeze 10 billion euros of EU funds for Hungary, which had been blocked due to rule of law issues.
The Commission has assessed Hungary’s measures and confirmed that it has fulfilled the horizontal condition of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, specifically regarding the independence of the judiciary. As a result, Hungary can now claim around €10.2 billion in payments, as the blocking of Cohesion Policy funding has been lifted.
If the conditions are no longer met, the European Commission may choose to once again cease funding Hungary’s initiatives.
Now, Hungary has the ability to apply for EU funding for projects and receive reimbursement based on the distribution of EU funds.
According to the statement, the Commission made this decision after the Orban government implemented laws to strengthen the independence of the court.
If Hungary’s funds are not fully freed, Orban vowed to veto EU plans to provide 50 billion euros to Ukraine over the next four years, as well as a resolution to begin negotiations on Ukraine’s EU membership.
It is unclear whether the decision to unfreeze 10 billion euros will persuade Orban to abandon his veto plans for Ukraine. A top Hungarian official stated the day before that his country desires a favorable outcome on the release of more than 30 billion euros.
Nonetheless, officials and diplomats hope that by Friday they will be able to reach an agreement on at least a package of financial assistance for Kyiv.
During their conversation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to present at least one reason for not admitting Ukraine to the EU.
Later, Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautioned that “if Hungary blocks the EU’s decision, it will mean that Putin has vetoed it,” implying Orban’s dependence on Putin in foreign policy.