At a special EU summit in Brussels this Thursday, a final attempt will be made to persuade Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to agree to plans for new aid to Ukraine. The package with financial support commitments amounting to 50 billion euros for the period until the end of 2027 should actually have been decided at a regular EU summit last December. At that time, however, Orban vetoed it and thereby prevented an agreement.

The Hungarian had previously questioned the usefulness of the plans several times and in this context also pointed out that, in his view, the EU had wrongly frozen funds from the Community budget intended for his country.

Before the summit, Orban said in an interview with the French magazine “Le Point” that Hungary was ready to be part of a solution. However, the prerequisite is that you decide every year whether you want to continue sending money or not. However, other member states such as Germany reject this. One reason is that they want to assure Ukraine of long-term support. It is also about depriving Hungary of opportunities for blackmail. EU diplomats accuse Orban of trying to use a veto policy to free EU funds that have been frozen due to concerns about the rule of law.

Orban rejects this. He also refers to the European elections coming up in June. In his opinion, now committing 50 billion euros to Ukraine for the period until the end of 2027 could give citizens the impression that their vote doesn’t matter.

According to EU diplomats and officials, they therefore want to propose an “emergency brake” to Orban. This could enable annual discussions about the aid.

If no solution is found in the talks with Orban, the other EU states want to act in a circle of 26 – i.e. without Hungary. At the same time, it is likely that there would then be discussions about possible steps to withdraw Hungary’s right to vote in EU decisions. The necessary Article 7 procedure due to alleged deficiencies in the rule of law has been running for years. However, it has not yet been pushed forward with any commitment – partly in the hope that Orban will give in on controversial issues.

At the summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to address the summit participants via video link, according to reports from Brussels. Other topics at the special EU summit will be the Middle East conflict and EU military aid to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) recently initiated a debate about military aid. He criticizes the fact that other large EU countries have budgeted significantly less money for arms and ammunition deliveries for the current year than Germany. In his opinion, this endangers Ukraine’s endurance in the defensive war against Russia.