Home World News Hungary Slammed For Blocking Funds For Ukraine At EU Foreign Ministers Meet

Hungary Slammed For Blocking Funds For Ukraine At EU Foreign Ministers Meet

Furious European diplomats say Hungary's stance is often in line with Russia's interests. But Budapest insists it is advocating for peace.
Hungary foreign minister Peter Szijjarto
File photo of Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto at a joint press conference with Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan May 22, 2024. (Jehad Shelbak/REUTERS)

BRUSSELS: Angry European Union foreign ministers on Monday urged Hungary to stop blocking military aid to Ukraine.

Several foreign ministers from the 27 member grouping expressed their frustration before and during a meeting in Brussels Monday.

EU decisions on foreign policy require the unanimous backing of all 27 member states.

“Almost all of our discussions… and decisions are being blocked by just one country,” said Lithuania’s top diplomat Gabrielius Landsbergis.

Hungary was blocking decisions on military aid to Ukraine, the start of EU membership talks for Kyiv, Georgia and Armenia, he said. “We looked into this and apparently about 41% of resolutions by (the) EU on Ukraine have been blocked by Hungary.”

“It has gone very, very far,” Landsbergis added. “We have to find a way, really, as a community to work around this.”

Estonia and Italy too expressed dissatisfaction with Budapest’s blocking tactics.

Diplomats say Hungary’s stance is often in line with Russia’s interests. But Budapest insists it is advocating for peace.

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At the meeting, the ministers called on their Hungarian colleague Peter Szijjarto to lift Budapest’s blocks on 6.5 billion euros ($7.06 billion) in military aid to Ukraine.

“Tempers ran quite high,” said one diplomat briefed on the discussions. Multiple officials said the exchanges were among the most heated in years among EU foreign ministers.

Peter Szijjarto refused to speak with journalists at the venue.

However, in comments on Facebook, he said: “German, Irish, Polish colleagues created a scene, but that could not change our position, regardless of what the war-favouring politicians are shouting.”

Diplomats say Budapest is blocking a variety of measures linked to the European Peace Facility. This is an EU-backed fund that has provided billions of euros in military aid to Ukraine.

“This is crucial now for Ukraine, and also for Europe, to use these EPF funds,” Estonian Foreign Margus Tsahkna said.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told reporters: “We are against the blocking. We want to move on.”

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In a career spanning over three decades and counting, I’ve been the Foreign Editor of The Telegraph, Outlook Magazine and The New Indian Express. I helped set up rediff.com’s editorial operations in San Jose and New York, helmed sify.com, and was the founder editor of India.com.

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