EU Opens Membership Talks to Ukraine but Hungary Vetoes other Military Aids

EU Opens Membership Talks to Ukraine but Hungary Vetoes other Military Aids

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Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced after a tense session of the European Council

Hungary has vetoed an EU plan to spend tens of billions of euros in assistance to Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced on Friday, after a tense overnight session of the European Council in Brussels. Previously, he reportedly walked out when other national leaders voted to launch formal talks on Kiev’s bid to join the bloc.

The plan proposed by the European Commission would amend the joint EU budget. Brussels wanted to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) for Ukraine in spending stretched over four years. Budapest opposed the plan, arguing that any assistance should be for a shorter term and pending renewal after review. Hungary also did not want to fund it through the joint budget.

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Orban reported the outcome of that part of the discussion on social media, saying he had vetoed the aid proposal and review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s long-term budget.

Hours earlier, the Hungarian leader reiterated his government’s objections to having membership talks with Ukraine, which was the first item on the agenda. Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, announced that negotiations were given the green light after eight hours of debates.

Orban blasted the decision as “completely senseless, irrational and incorrect,”and said that his nation was not part of it. The other states of the 27-member bloc insisted otherwise; he said in a video statement that “if the 26 decide to do so, they should go their own way.”

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Budapest believes that Kiev has not made sufficient progress in implementing EU-demanded reforms. In the days prior to the Council session, Orban indicated that he may veto the proposal, but chose not to do so.

Instead, he reportedly walked out of the meeting before the vote. This made the decision technically unanimous as required by EU rules, without forcing Budapest to support it. Sources cited by The Guardian said the maneuver was unusual and pre-arranged by participants.

Michel called the outcome a “historic moment that ensures the credibility and the strength of the EU.” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said history is “made by those who don’t get tired of fighting for freedom.”

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Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was not in the room when other leaders agreed on the 12th package of EU sanctions on Russia, according to Politico. He was reportedly blocking the restrictions due to Kiev’s branding of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank as an “international sponsor of war” over its continued business in Russia.

originally published by Russia Today

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EU opens membership talks with Ukraine

EU leaders agreed on Thursday to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – who had threatened to veto the decision – abstained from voting. Orban and others argue that Kiev must tackle rampant corruption before joining the bloc.

The decision was announced following eight hours of debate at a summit of the European Council in Brussels. Council President Charles Michel hailed the move as “a very powerful political signal,” while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described it as “a strategic decision and a day that will remain engraved in the history of our union.”

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Ukraine applied for EU membership last February and was granted candidate status that June. However, the decision to open accession talks less than 18 months later was a controversial one, given that some candidate countries in the Balkans have been waiting for the same moment for more than ten years.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was one of the loudest opponents of granting Ukraine accession talks. Orban stated last week that admitting Ukraine, which he called “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” would be a disaster for the bloc. Earlier this month, Orban’s spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, warned that Ukraine’s total dependence on foreign aid and involvement in an active conflict should automatically preclude any talk of membership.

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However, Orban did not participate in Thursday’s vote, allowing the EU’s remaining 26 members to make a unanimous decision on the talks. Orban opted not to veto the ruling a day after the European Commission unblocked billions of euros in funding for Hungary, which it froze last December, citing Budapest’s failure to comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on issues including LGBTQ rights, academic freedom, and asylum.

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“It is a completely senseless, irrational, and incorrect decision to start negotiations with Ukraine under these circumstances,” Orban said after the vote. “On the other hand, 26 other countries insisted that this decision be made. If the 26 decide to do so, they should go their own way. Hungary does not want to share in this bad decision.”

Slovakia and Austria also opposed fast-tracking Ukraine’s membership, although neither blocked Thursday’s decision. Speaking in Bratislava on Wednesday, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico warned that despite the “political decision” of the European Council, “Ukraine is absolutely unprepared to open the negotiations” and will struggle to meet the bloc’s criteria for membership.

originally published by Russia Today

All links to Gospa News articles have been added aftermath, in relation to the topics highlighted


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