Hungary has threatened to block tens of billions of dollars in European aid to Ukraine and veto its bid for EU membership, amid escalating disputes between Brussels and Budapest.
Hungary has long been a “thorn in the flesh” of the European Union.
Now, as campaigning gets underway for next June’s European elections – the Hungarian government has launched a personal attack on European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, putting up billboards showing her alongside Alex Soros, the Hungarian-born son of liberal financier George Soros, a favorite target other. The slogan reads: “Don’t dance to their tune.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stepped up his attacks on the EU in a speech to the Fidesz party congress this month, saying, “I am convinced that right now, in Brussels, Europe is being undermined and heading towards its destruction.”
European Council President Charles Michel visited Orban for talks on Monday. Neither Michel nor Orban spoke to the media.
The EU continues to withhold around $24 billion of the bloc’s post-COVID stimulus funds for Hungary, citing concerns about the rule of law in Hungary – including the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press.
In his letter to Michel last week, Orban reportedly threatened to block a $50 billion European Union aid package for Ukraine.
He also said he would veto Ukraine’s future membership of the bloc unless EU leaders agree to review their entire support strategy for Kyiv.
Hungary said it was impossible for the talks to continue if the country was at war – and urged Kyiv to seek peace talks with Moscow. Ukraine says it will not open negotiations until Russian troops leave its territory. (lt/hour)