Hungary rejects EU plan to grant more money to Ukraine: PM

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Hungary rejects the European Commission’s plans to grant more money to Ukraine and is not willing to contribute additional money to finance the EU’s increased debt service costs, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

Orban, speaking on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels, said it was a “ridiculous” request from the Commission that Hungary should contribute more money, when Budapest - along with Poland - has not received funds from the EU’s Recovery Fund amid a rule of law dispute.

The European Union will provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros ($54.30 billion) in aid for 2024-27, the bloc’s president said on June 20. This comes after a review of the EU’s 2021-27 shared budget, which has been depleted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and an energy crisis. High inflation and interest rates have also doubled debt-servicing costs.

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“One thing is clear, we Hungarians... will not give more money to Ukraine until they say where the previous around 70 billion euros worth of funds had gone,” Orban said.

“And we find it utterly ridiculous and absurd, that we should contribute more money to finance debt service costs of a loan, from which we have still not received the funds we are entitled to get.”

Hungary and Poland are the only EU members lagging behind in getting the recovery funds, which the Commission has blocked over accusations that the two countries’ nationalist governments damage democracy and the rule of law.

Orban said there was almost no chance that European Union member states would approve these financial plans and a “long fight” would start.

On Thursday, EU leaders declared they would make long-term commitments to bolster Ukraine’s security as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged them to start work on a new round of sanctions against Russia.

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