In the Spotlight
By Paul Serran Oct. 28, 2023
From The Gateway Pundit
The European Union is now up in arms against a new dynamic duo poised to block new initiatives of military support for Ukraine – or at least create great difficulties in its implementation.
Hungary’s longtime leader Viktor Orbán and Slovakia’s returning Prime Minister Robert Fico are now under the spotlight as the EU countries worry about the potential for disruption by these populist and nationalist leaders.
Orbán has now come flat-out against a €50-billion plan in long-term support for Ukraine. It features €33 billion in low-interest loans and €17 billion in non-repayable grants.
Any changes to the EU budget require unanimity of all 27 member states, so a single country can veto the process.
“Orbán’s opposition, which was widely expected given his previous statements and his controversial meeting with Vladimir Putin in China, was made clear on Thursday during a two-day summit in Brussels, where leaders had their first exchange of views since the European Commission proposed the Ukraine Facility in June.
“The Commission wants more money so that they can give it to the integration (of migrants) policy and to the Ukrainians,” Orbán said upon arrival. ‘We do not support any of them, the professional and political arguments are lacking, we will reject them’.”
Slovakia’s Robert Fico raised concerns about the corruption in Ukraine, asked for extra safeguards to ensure the EU cash is not ‘misappropriated’.
“‘Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and its brutal financial support is conditioned by guarantees that European money, including Slovak, will be not misappropriated’, Fico wrote in a Facebook post published on Friday morning, noting resources should be used to help Slovak companies in Ukraine’s reconstruction.
The premier’s reservations, however, were not interpreted as a categorical ‘no’ and left the door open for a possible endorsement of the €50-billion plan provided the safeguards are put in place, several diplomats told Euronews.”
But Fico not frontally opposing the Ukraine aid was met with a certain relief.
“‘The war in Ukraine is not ours, we have nothing to do with it’, he declared on Thursday. ‘An immediate halt to military operations is the best solution for Ukraine. The EU should move from being an arms supplier to a peacemaker’.”
Even if Fico eventually signs off, Orbán’s resistance by itself could block the support for Ukraine.
Budapest has withheld since May €500 million in EU military aid for Kyiv.
Financial Times reported:
“Fico said on Thursday ahead of the EU summit that his government would not vote in favour of any new measures to help Ukraine or sanctions against Russia without a full assessment of how they could affect Slovakia.”
The last increase in the EU funding took place in January, and subsequent attempts to top it up have been blocked by Hungary’s veto.
“Orbán last week became the first EU leader to meet Vladimir Putin since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against the Russian president.
Hungary’s leader defended his meeting with Putin and said he was ‘proud’ of his country’s engagement with Russia. Arriving at the EU summit, Orbán said Hungary had a ‘clear and transparent policy’ of engagement with Moscow and Putin. ‘We would like to keep open all the communication lines to the Russians, otherwise there will be no chance of peace’, he said.”
Read more about Orbán and Fico: