EU sources deny plan to keep Orbán in check by cutting off all EU funds from Hungary

January 30. 2024. – 08:44 AM



Copied to clipboard

No plan such as the one described in a Financial Times article on Sunday has been outlined against the Hungarian government in the European Council of Ministers, Szabad Európa and EUrologus reported separately, both citing a council source, with Reuters quoting a "senior" EU official as saying the same.

The Financial Times has seen a document suggesting that other member states could permanently cut Hungary off from EU funding if it does not approve continued support for Ukraine. The paper referred to a draft outlined ahead of Thursday's meeting of EU heads of state and government. According to the document, cutting off EU funds would exert considerable pressure on Hungary.

The Financial Times did not specify who the "EU officials" who drafted the proposal represented, or whether the document even got as far as being circulated among member states. The meetings of heads of state and government are prepared by the ministers for EU affairs in the EU Council. Their last meeting ahead of Thursday's summit was scheduled for Monday. The upcoming summit is expected to bring agreement on replenishing Ukraine's dwindling financial assistance following Viktor Orbán's veto on the matter at their previous meeting in December.

The Hungarian government's comment on the Financial Times' report was that the EU was trying to blackmail Hungary, but the Hungarian government would not give in.

Szabad Európa: there's been an only partially similar analysis in the EU Council

According to Szabad Európa, there was indeed a factual paper on the prospects of the Hungarian economy prepared at the Council Secretariat on their own initiative. "It is a factual document that neither reflects "the state of play of the negotiations on the EU's multiannual budget nor the ongoing negotiations between the leaders of the member states and their helpers ("sherpas") at the EU summit. Reports agree that the memo does not outline any specific plans on the multiannual budget, nor on aid to Ukraine or about Hungary.

However, Szabad Európa argues that there is no clear answer as to why it was specifically the Hungarian economy that was the subject of a factual assessment, and why this was done right before the summit that was also to decide on assistance for Ukraine.

Commenting to Szabad Európa, an insider Council source called it

"...unbelievable and irresponsible", adding that "There is clearly malicious intent behind the leak. No one is intending to play games with the fate of the Hungarian people."

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!