Hungary blocks EU from giving Ukraine €500 million for weapons
May 16. 2023. – 11:31 AM
Hungary has blocked the release of the eighth installment of the European Peace Facility (EPF) for arms to Ukraine, the Italian newspaper ANSA reports.
The amount to be released is €500 million and was due to be paid next Monday. According to the Italian newspaper, Hungary did not approve the aid because it demanded guarantees that the EPF would not use the money exclusively to arm Kyiv, but would maintain its "global horizon" in the future. The European Peace Facility was set up by the European Council to help member states better strengthen international security. In the Russian-Ukrainian war, member states are also buying arms for Ukraine through the EPF.
At the end of April, we reported on the European Commission seeking to inject half a billion euros into the EU defence industry between 2022 and 2024, and the Internal Market Commissioner's plan to soon present a plan for boosting the defence industry, which has been in decline for decades, especially in the production of ammunition.
The European Peace Facility, which was established to handle reimbursements for arms sent to countries outside the EU, has become the main player, and was quickly depleted by the transfer of equipment, mainly to Ukraine. For the time being, EUR 2 billion has been added to the EUR 5.7 billion fund, which can be used until 2027, and half of the extra money has been used to purchase artillery ammunition for Ukraine, which is being jointly managed by most member states. This is the first time that military equipment is being bought specifically for a foreign country through the EU's European Defence Agency.
We have contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade several times on this matter, in order to find out why the payment of the eighth instalment was blocked by Hungary.
Late Tuesday, they sent the following answer:
"The Foreign Minister made himself clear in Stockholm on Friday: As long as Ukraine doesn't remove the biggest Hungarian bank from the list of international sponsors of the war, it will be very difficult for Hungary to negotiate about any further financial and economic sacrifices."
The fact that Hungary could again be an obstacle to EU aid to Ukraine, which is facing Russian aggression, was already foreshadowed by Péter Szijjártó's words earlier. After a report published on 4 May made it clear that at the recommendation of the Ukrainian Corruption Prevention Agency, Ukraine had placed OTP Bank on the list of international sponsors of the war (saying that the Hungarian bank's Russian division was supporting the war against Ukraine), the Foreign Minister not only called the decision astonishing, outrageous and scandalous, but said that until the decision was reversed in Kyiv, it would be "very difficult" for the Hungarian government to negotiate sanctions that would involve further sacrifices.
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