Hungary makes good on its threat and vetoes the new disbursement of arms shipments to Ukraine

Hungary once again makes it difficult to advance aid to Ukraine.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 May 2023 Monday 16:21
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Hungary makes good on its threat and vetoes the new disbursement of arms shipments to Ukraine

Hungary once again makes it difficult to advance aid to Ukraine. This time it is blocking support for a tranche of aid of 500 million euros from the European Peace Support Fund and the reason why the EU foreign ministers have not given it the green light at their meeting this Monday in Brussels.

So far, the EU has already allocated 3.6 billion in aid for arms shipments, but this time – as announced by the Hungarian foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó – no approval has been given. Budapest brandishes a "growing belligerence" on the part of the Ukrainian government against the country, specifically, due to the inclusion of the Hungarian OTP bank – the largest in the country – on the blacklist of entities that collaborate with Russia. The minister insisted that he will not lift his veto until the bank is removed from this list.

The feeling among the European capitals is of notable malaise. Once again, Hungary vetoes a decision that requires unanimity to put pressure on the rest of the partners and achieve an objective that often has nothing to do with what has to be approved. And many capitals are visibly tired of any argument being used constantly.

However, the ministers were willing to try to find a solution and hold talks with the country. Also the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, who believes that all channels must be open for Hungary to lift its veto. “Bilaterally [between Ukraine and Hungary] and multilaterally.” “We have to do everything possible so that a new military aid package for Ukraine is approved, if a country has doubts, we talk about it, and that is what we are going to do,” Borrell assured.

Even so, the High Representative also made it clear that “every day of delay in the shipment of arms is measured in human lives” Ukrainians. For this reason, he asked that the shipment of ammunition and the new disbursement of 500 million be accelerated.

In parallel, the ministers have also addressed the eleventh package of sanctions right now in negotiations. A large group of countries have expressed their doubts about the issue of sanctioning companies from third countries, such as Chinese entities, and about the consequences it may have on the complicated balance between the EU and Beijing. Especially, after a document proposed by Borrell ten days ago to keep channels open with China, even reducing dependencies. For the moment, the countries will continue in negotiations for the sanctions package with the intention that it can be approved by the summit of European leaders at the end of June.

The unanimity that is required in foreign policy decisions makes it increasingly difficult to act quickly enough. For this reason, a dozen countries, including Spain, discussed on Monday on the sidelines of the meeting of ministers an initiative, led by Germany, to end the constant vetoes. The Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, has advanced that in the current Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU, he will try to promote that some issues can be approved by a qualified majority and unanimity is not necessary. "The aggression against Ukraine has shown the need to maintain unity, but also to act with agility, the voice of Europe must be heard quickly and with agility", he defended.