Reasons for lifting the 10-billion-euro budget freeze of Hungary in the European Union

2024/02/06 | Economy, interview, top news

Strategic Council Online—Interview: A European affairs expert said that the European Union is trying to get Hungary's consent in every possible way to provide financial aid to Ukraine from the European Union, so the release of 10 billion euros of the blocked budget of Hungary last year is justified.

Ali Begdeli, an expert on European and international issues, referred to the release of 10 billion euros of the Hungarian budget that was previously blocked and explained its impact on the European Union’s financial support for Ukraine against Russia.

“All the fights are about the war in Ukraine. Hungary is one of the European Union countries that still has good relations with Russia. The European Union is looking for Hungary to agree to allocate funds from the European Union to Ukraine at the EU leaders’ meeting,” he told the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations.

About a year ago, the European Union had blocked part of the budget allocated to the country because of what he called “Hungarian deviation from the rule of law, especially the inability to contain financial and administrative corruption.” The European Union has repeatedly warned officials in recent years about homosexual rights, immigrants, and civil liberties, as well as intensifying government controls over universities, the media, and the judiciary in Hungary, but the Hungarian government ignored the warnings. This caused Brussels to block billions of euros from the EU budget for Hungary.

This international affairs expert said that the European Union is reluctant to help Ukraine again because the European Union is in a terrible economic situation, and allocating a significant part of the EU budget to Ukraine will worsen this situation for the member states. On the other hand, the US has put a lot of pressure on the European Union to help Ukraine, But nothing seems to be clear yet. The West, including the US and Europe, have faced a challenge to continue providing financial aid to Ukraine. Joe Biden asked the Congress for help in Ukraine, but the Congress disagreed. Now, the European Union has the same problem because some union members are against this work, and if one member is against it, the others cannot do anything.

He said that it seems the European Union is trying to somehow win this country’s opinion not to oppose the granting of EU aid to Ukraine by releasing Hungary’s blocked budget. The problem is that Hungary is Putin’s friend and has opposed helping Zelensky.

Bigdley said that, on the other hand, there is a concern for many European countries that by cutting off EU aid to Ukraine, Russia’s hand will be opened for taking over the occupied cities for sure, like what happened in Crimea. One of the countries that is very concerned about this is Poland, which borders Russia. They believe that if the war in Ukraine continues, maybe Russia will attack Poland in the next move.

Referring to the opposition of Poland and some other European Union countries to the removal of Hungary’s 10-billion-dollar budget freeze, this expert on European affairs noted that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a deep strain has formed in relations between Poland and Russia, and it remains strong. One of the countries that still insists on helping Ukraine is Poland because it sees Russia and its advance towards Ukraine against its national security and is basically an enemy of Putin. With the start of the Ukraine-Russia war, Poland was the only country in the European Union that attempted to contribute more to the Ukrainian aid fund.

He stated that the European Union will face many problems if it fails to get Hungary’s agreement to extend the budget for Ukraine. In addition, the US presidential election is coming up, and they don’t know whether they should move towards the US and accompany Washington in the Ukraine and other international issues or not! The possibility of Trump returning to the US presidency is a serious concern for these countries. The spread of right-wing extremists in the world is a danger that Europe is very worried about, and now there is a possibility of their coming to power in the European Union and other countries.

Bigdley noted that the rise of the right-wing in the world is highly beneficial to Putin and his policies.

He said Americans are ahead of the Europeans in solving the Ukraine problem. However, the European Union cannot stand aside in cooperation with the United States in the face of Russia, considering the severe economic problems that each of the members of the European Union has; of course, this will be hard to keep up. However, the best option for the European Union is to provide financial assistance to Ukraine through the financial fund of the European Union, so they want to collect this assistance outside the European Union.

This expert on European issues stated that if the aid to Ukraine is stopped, Russia will gain the upper hand. The Westerners will have to accept the annexation of the four regions occupied by Russia in Ukraine, just as they accepted the annexation of Crimea. More importantly, Russia cannot accept Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

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