After Hungary rejects billions in aid to Ukraine, Charles Michel flies to Budapest to meet with Orbán ahead of EU summit

Europan Council President Charles Michel (L) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (R) in Budapest on November 27, 2023. (MTI)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

European Council President Charles Michel flew to Budapest on Monday in an attempt to smooth over current disagreements with Hungary, reports daily Magyar Nemzet.

On the European Council agenda, there are three summits in December: one with China on Dec. 7, one on the Western Balkans on Dec. 13, and on the heels of the second, the European Council proper summit from Dec. 14 to Dec. 15. This last is the one that will be the most critical, with aid to Ukraine and the country’s potential EU membership topping the agenda.

Neither side revealed details of the two-hour meeting: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán only posted a handshake image with Michel, with the laconic text: “Useful consultations ahead of the December EU summit with the president of the European Council.”

However, political analyst Zoltán Kiszelly told daily Magyar Nemzet that the meeting probably revolved around a letter from Viktor Orbán, in which the prime minister wrote that until a strategic evaluation of aid to Ukraine is carried out, his country is not ready to make new commitments.

“So, we should not rush into Ukraine’s admission negotiations or the €50 billion loan without an impact assessment, and the heads of state and government who make the fundamental decisions have not discussed this,” Kiszelly said.

According to him, Michel knows that if the strategic debate were to take place and the case studies were to be carried out, it would become clear that Kyiv cannot even account for the €85 billion it has so far spent on Ukraine. It would also turn out that, in the case of membership, Ukraine would take everything in agricultural or cohesion aid and most EU member states would become contributors.

“This is what Brussels wants to avoid,” Kiszelly said.

“The more details the European public learns, the less they would support Brussels’ ambitions. And we see everyone from Dutch farmers to Polish truckers protesting against Ukraine. The Brussels elite is imposing the consequences of its decisions on the people of Europe,” he added.

The European Commission is racing to push Ukraine into the EU, and disburse ever higher sums of money to a non-EU member state. Hungary, in turn, has been denied €10.4 billion in EU recovery funds that had been earmarked for the country over alleged rule of law violations.

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