According to press reports, Giorgia Meloni is in an endeavour to persuade Viktor Orbán to withdraw his veto on the €50 billion EU aid to Ukraine, offering a unique deal in return. Kyiv could soon face severe challenges or even collapse without substantial foreign financial assistance.
In several countries of the European Union, the concept of referendums linked to the enlargement of the Union is well known. In 2016, the Netherlands held a referendum on the adoption of the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. The majority of voters rejected the agreement, but as it was only an advisory referendum, so the result did not ultimately bind the Dutch government. France’s constitution requires a referendum to be held before any future EU enlargement. I see no reason why Hungary should not be the next country to have such a plebiscite.
According to Brussels sources, the Hungarian government’s resistance was in connection with concerns over migration-related policies. However, it may be the case that the Hungarian veto is linked to the almost decade-long dispute with Oslo over the Norwegian Fund.
The Hungarian government blocking the latest round of sanctions comes only days after the Orbán administration vetoed the release of €500 million of military aid to Ukraine. The blacklisting of the Budapest-based OTP Bank by Ukrainian officials is behind both of these decisions.
The European Peace Facility was posed to transfer €500 million to Ukraine for artillery round purchases, but the aid was blocked by the Hungarian government. The official explanation for the move is that Budapest would like to see the off-budget EU fund focus on more than just Ukraine, but some believe the blacklisting of OTP Bank may be behind it.
Some EU member states are looking to abolish the veto power of smaller countries in the area of common foreign and security policies. They argue that this would speed up the process of passing laws, however, there are many hurdles to consider.
Hungary did not veto a joint EU statement on Putin’s arrest warrant, the MFAT’s spokesperson stated on Monday evening. ‘Hungary has taken note of the ICC decision and does not wish to comment on it in any way,’ Máté Paczolay said.