Bloomberg: Meloni pushing Orbán to unlock Ukraine aid in exchange for joining Eurosceptic party family

January 11. 2024. – 09:51 AM


Bloomberg: Meloni pushing Orbán to unlock Ukraine aid in exchange for joining Eurosceptic party family
Giorgia Meloni and Viktor Orbán at an EU summit in 2022 – Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP


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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni would like Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán to stop blocking EU aid to Ukraine in exchange for Orbán's party, Fidesz joining the party of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Bloomberg writes.

In addition, the Italian Prime Minister is also keen for Orbán to improve his relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and change his negative stance on Ukraine's EU membership. According to anonymous sources interviewed by Bloomberg, these would be the conditions for opening the way for Fidesz to join the ECR.

Fidesz left the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) in March 2021 and has not been a member of any EP political group since then. However, for the past several months, Orbán's party has been flirting with the Eurosceptic ECR, which several of Orbán's allies, including Meloni's party, the Brothers of Italy and Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) are members of.

Throughout December, the Hungarian Prime Minister spoke several times about negotiations on membership being under way, but said they were unlikely to be concluded until after the EP elections in June.

The question now is whether, given Meloni's conditions, Fidesz will consider joining the other Eurosceptic party family, Identity and Democracy (ID) instead. While the ECR is explicitly pro-Ukrainian, ID is much more pro-Russian.

ID members include Marine Le Pen's National Rally from France, Italy's Matteo Salvini's League, Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom from Holland and Germany's AfD, all of which have multiple links to Vladimir Putin and Russia.

Orbán was the only EU leader to oppose and veto the €50 billion assistance package for Ukraine at the mid-December EU summit. The package is to be renegotiated at an extraordinary EU summit in early February.

According to Politico, Hungary may lift its veto on the €50 billion aid to Ukraine, provided that the funding is reviewed on an annual basis.

On Wednesday, however, Euronews reported that Orbán had made another demand in exchange for lifting his veto on the €50 billion package. According to the report, the Hungarian PM is now seeking to have the deadline for drawing down funds from the EU's pandemic recovery and resilience facility extended until 2028, instead of the current 2026.

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