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Hungarian PM Orban blocks extra aid to Ukraine in EU talks

Hungary has stopped €50bn ($55bn; £43bn) in EU help for Ukraine - only hours after a deal was reached on starting membership talks.

Hungary has stopped €50bn ($55bn; £43bn) in EU help for Ukraine – only hours after a deal was reached on starting membership talks.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced a veto on additional financial support for Ukraine following Brussels’ discussions on Thursday. EU leaders decided to resume aid negotiations in early 2024 after the setback.

Ukraine’s Dependency on Aid

With ongoing conflicts against Russian forces, Ukraine heavily relies on funding from the EU and the US, making the aid blockage a crucial concern.

Mixed Outcomes from EU Talks

While the EU leaders moved to initiate membership talks with Ukraine, Moldova, and grant candidate status to Georgia, Orban’s Hungary, known for its ties with Russia, opposed Ukraine’s membership but did not veto the decision.

Orban’s Disagreement and Negotiation Details

Orban, expressing disappointment, revealed his eight-hour-long attempt to sway his EU counterparts against the decision. He highlighted the lengthy process for Ukraine’s EU membership and hinted at Budapest’s potential to hinder it through parliamentary action.

Future Prospects and Remarks from Other Leaders

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte emphasized that Ukraine’s immediate financial situation remains stable, expressing confidence in reaching an agreement in late January. 

EU Council President Michel confirmed agreement from all but one EU leader on the aid package and broader budget plans, pending Sweden’s parliamentary consultation.

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