The government is not willing to negotiate on the EU proposal of €500 million to finance arms supplies to Ukraine, or on the further proposed €20 billion, until Kiev removes Hungarian bank OTP from the list of international sponsors of the war, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó warned in Brussels on Thursday.
During a break in the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting, the Minister stressed that there was no talk of peace this time either. In fact, a proposal was put forward under which the bloc would spend €20 billion on arms supplies to Ukraine over the next four years, of which Hungary would have to pay roughly €200 million.
What is the European Union saying? That it will be a state of war for another four years anyway. So now Brussels is not only not thinking about peace in the short term, but is also envisaging a war in Europe in the long term,”
“This proposal is shocking (…) The question is rightly asked: how many people will die in the four years that we are financing arms shipments with €20 billion? How many Hungarians will die in those four years?” he asked. He underlined that the last five hundred days have proven that there is no solution to this conflict on the battlefield, and the more weapons are shipped, the higher the death toll will be.
Péter Szijjártó recalled that the European Peace Facility has so far provided €5.6 billion to finance the arms transfers, and that another €500 million is now to be approved, but the government will not say yes to this until Ukraine removes OTP, the largest Hungarian bank, from the list of international sponsors of the war.
Fact The list of international war sponsors was compiled by Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention. OTP Bank is on the list because the Ukrainian authorities say the bank continues to cooperate with Russia. One of the arguments is that according to information available on financial results, the Russian subsidiary bank of OTP “made a profit of 113 million roubels in 2020, and paid a colossal amount to the aggressor country’s budget – about 190 million roubels in income tax.” The anti-corruption agency says that “as it became known from the mass media, the bank also provides preferential credit terms to the Russian military.” However, as Hungarian constitutional lawyer Zoltán Lomnici Jr. pointed out, OTP does not lend to members of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, preferentially or otherwise, and its activities comply with the terms of international sanctions.
He pointed out that the European Commission recently admitted that it had run out of money and asked for another €50 billion to support Ukraine. “Now they are asking for €20 billion for arms supplies, so we are talking about €70 billion, and there is no accounting, no statement of the money spent so far,” he added. The Foreign Minister emphasized that
last year the 100 largest Western-owned companies paid $3.5 billion in corporate taxes in Russia, while OTP, with a 0.16% share of the Russian banking market, was blacklisted in Ukraine.
According to an article by Investment Monitor, in 2022, international companies generated $214 billion in revenue in Russia from their operations there, with $14.1 billion in profits and $3.1 billion in profit taxes. On a country basis, US companies collected the largest total revenues in Russia, and paid the most in taxes, with the latter amounting to $712 million in 2022. This is followed by Germany, whose companies paid $402 million in profit tax to Russia in 2022.
Via MTI, Featured photo via Facebook/Szijjártó Péter