The European Commission may unfreeze more than half of the €13 billion in EU funds owed to Hungary that have been frozen since December of last year, the Financial Times reported. In return, Brussels expects the Hungarian government to agree to increase the EU budget and send €50bn in aid to Ukraine in return.
The European Commission would unblock some €13 billion by the end of November, three sources with insight into the negotiations confirmed to the Financial Times business daily.
The EU froze around €22bn in cohesion funds for Hungary last December after it was seen as failing to meet human rights and rule of law principles.
The Hungarian government took the steps requested by Brussels, but the money was still not paid out. According to commission spokesman Stefan de Keersmaecker, Brussels sent a letter to the Hungarian government on the 26th of September asking for clarification on certain issues. “As soon as Hungary answers these questions, the committee will continue its assessment,” the spokesman added.
Unfreezing the funds, which have been frozen since December of last year, would be a victory for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Financial Times notes.
The commission intends to unfreeze about €13bn in funding before the end of November”
– as reported by the Financial Times. Hungary enacted judicial reforms in May in response to demands from Brussels, allowing the commission to unlock €13bn, more than half of the frozen funding.
Over the weekend, the US Congress rejected another $6 billion in aid for Ukraine as part of a deal to avoid a government shutdown. As for the EU Committee’s proposal, the common budget would increase by €66 billion to cover the increased costs. Of this, €50 billion would go to support Ukraine over the next four years.
It is probably no coincidence that Ukraine has just recently met Hungary’s demand to remove OTP Bank from the list of international donors to the war, as the Hungarian government has already indicated that it will certainly not vote for further European aid to the war-torn country until this happens.
Via: Financial Times, Magyar Nemzet, Featured image:Pixabay