Hungary Continues Blocking EU Weapons Aid to Ukraine

  • 27 Jun 2023 10:08 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Hungary Continues Blocking EU Weapons Aid to Ukraine
Hungary’s government will continue to deny its consent to the next instalment of 500 million euros in the European Peace Facility to Ukraine until it removes Hungarian commercial bank OTP from its list of war sponsors, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Luxembourg on Monday, insisting that OTP had not violated any international regulations.

On the sidelines of a meeting of his European Union counterparts, Szijjártó said participants had agreed on increasing the peace facility by 3.5 billion euros, but added that Hungary had voted for the proposal on the condition of receiving legal guarantees “to preserve the global nature of the facility”.

That means, he added, that the fund could assist countries in the Western Balkans and in Africa in maintaining stability and prevent new waves of migration.

Szijjártó said some 6 billion euros had been used from the facility to finance arms shipments to Ukraine, adding that Hungary had “sharply opposed this shift in focus” and insisted that the facility had been created to support stability “in a number of places” such as “Africa, the Sahel region or even in the Western Balkans” and mitigate security challenges for Europe through preventing further waves of migration.

Szijjártó referred to a “huge pressure ... nearly all participants urging to facilitate the next instalment of 500 million for weapons to Ukraine”, but said Hungary’s representatives continued to deny their consent as “we had earlier made it clear that we would continue blocking it until Ukrainian authorities give up their ridiculous and false claims under which they had included OTP ... on a list of international war sponsors”.

Szijjártó insisted it was “nonsensical” that “while Ukraine ... expects further aid to finance arms shipments, they put the largest Hungarian bank on a list of war sponsors and will not change it”.

He also added that he had asked his EU counterparts to urge Ukraine to remove OTP from the list.

“Ukrainian authorities could remove OTP from that list in a second, but it seems they don’t want to,” he said, adding that Ukraine had sanctioned OTP under “ridiculous and false claims lacking any realistic foundations”.

Szijjártó: EU Continues to Urge Military Solution to Ukraine War

Though it has finally been acknowledged at a meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council that the global majority wants immediate peace in Ukraine, most member states continue to urge a military solution to the war, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said in Luxembourg.

The war continues to claim many lives, and the possibility of increasingly grave natural disasters is arising, Szijjártó told a press conference during a break in a meeting with his EU counterparts, according to a ministry statement. Also, the danger of nuclear accidents is being talked about more and more openly, he added.

“All of these facts prove that there is no solution to this war on the battlefield,” Szijjártó said. “We’ve been saying this for a very long time, and unfortunately I have to tell you that the daily tragically sad developments are proving us right.”

“This war cannot be resolved on the battlefield, only through negotiations,” Szijjártó said. “But in spite of this, it unfortunately became clear again at today’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting that the vast majority of member states and the European Union itself insists on a military solution.”

“Although, after sixteen months, it has been acknowledged at the Council meeting that the global majority wants immediate peace, but despite this acknowledgement, they continue to urge a military solution in the European Union,” the minister said.

Szijjártó said those who favoured a solution to the war on the battlefield over a diplomatic settlement bore responsibility for the growing casualties and natural disasters, which he said would increase the price of reconstruction likely to be spearheaded by Europe.

But, he said, serious questions needed to be put on the agenda before any decision was made about how a reconstruction would be financed and how it would affect the development funding of member states.

Meanwhile, Szijjártó noted a fresh report by the Venice Commission declaring that Ukraine failed to meet its obligations regarding the rights of national minorities.

He said Ukraine had been curtailing the rights of national minority communities since 2015. He called Ukraine’s decision to delay the changes to the operations of minority schools “propaganda”, arguing that this offered no solution to the situation of ethnic Hungarian schools.

If Ukraine fails to restore the rights of the ethnic Hungarian community in Transcarpathia, it will not be ready to start accession talks with the EU, “and we won’t be able to give our support, either”, Szijjártó said.

Hungary expects Ukraine to meet the EU requirements and obligations enshrined in international treaties on guaranteeing the rights of minority communities, he said.

Meanwhile, Szijjártó said Hungary would never approve sanctions that would render the operations of its own nuclear industry impossible. In response to a question, Szijjártó said Hungary had monitored this past weekend’s conflict between Russia’s Wagner mercenary group and the military leadership closely so that the government could act in a timely fashion if necessary.

Szijjártó said he spoke by phone on Saturday with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov as well as with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov who had briefed him on the situation and likely developments, adding that both officials had turned out to be correct.

He said he had also been in contact with Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik, who had briefed him late in the afternoon on a phone call between Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin which eventually resolved the situation.

“So, long before the fact of the agreement or the resolution of the situation became public, my Belarusian counterpart had informed me about it,” Szijjártó said. He added that he had simultaneously kept the prime minister updated about the situation.

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