According to the Italian news agency ANSA, Hungary has blocked the payment of €500 million the European Peace Facility was going to transfer to Ukraine for artillery ammunition and missiles. The transfer was supposed to go through on Monday, 22 May, but it will most likely not be sent due to Hungary’s veto.
The European Peace Facility (EPF) is an EU off-budget fund, founded by a European Council decision in March 2021, to enhance the EU’s ability to prevent conflict, preserve peace and strengthen international stability and security, either by supporting the peace-keeping operations of countries anywhere in the world or by helping increase the capability of their armed forces to ensure peace and security on their national territory. Recently, the EU has decided to ramp up its aid to the embattled Ukrainian nation. On 20 March, the EU Council accepted a resolution to provide the Ukrainian armed forces with at least one million rounds of artillery. Soon thereafter,
on 5 May, the EU Council officially allocated €1 billion to aid President Zelenskyy and his administration in the war through EPF funding.
The first half of that sum is the payment in question, which was vetoed by Hungary.
Why Has Hungary Blocked the €500 million War Aid to Ukraine?
Still according to ANSA reporting, the official explanation the Hungarian government gave for its dissent was that they wanted assurances that the Peace Facility would expand to a global scope, and helping Ukraine would not remain its sole purpose.
This was later confirmed by the government spokesperson’s office, in a statement made in writing to Reuters which read:
‘Hungary does not agree with the fact that the European Union, along with other existing tools, uses the European Peace Facility solely with regard to Ukraine as this does not allow sufficient funds to be channelled to promote the EU’s interests in other areas.’
Evidently, news of the Orbán administration’s recent veto of Ukrainian aid was not well received by the Western media. Many believe this move falls in line with the conspiratorial narrative that PM Orbán is actually trying to help Putin in the war. However, there are other theories on what the unstated reason behind Hungary’s decision to block the payment is.
Some in the Hungarian media believe that this has to do with
the Budapest-based OTP Bank having been moved onto the official list of ‘international war sponsors’
by the National Agency on Corruption Prevention in Ukraine.
So the blocking of the aid may be a retaliatory move by the Hungarian government, or perhaps a strategic move the Orbán administration wishes to use as leverage in the future regarding the securing of the rights of the Hungarian ethnic minority in Ukraine.