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EU opens the door to Ukraine, Orban continues the standoff over aid | War in Ukraine

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Viktor Orban, Hungarian Prime Minister, conditions the assistance to Ukraine in the release of all European funds intended for its country.

Agence France-Presse

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European Union leaders have given the green light to accession talks with Ukraine, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban threatened on Friday to block in the long term any budgetary progress in favor of this country at war.

After a long night of negotiations in Brussels, which did not make it possible to lift Hungary's veto on new aid of 50 billion euros in favor of Ukraine, the nationalist leader pushed the highlight by conditioning aid to Kiev on the release of all European funds for its country.

I have always said that if we proceeded with an amendment to the EU budget […], Hungary would seize the opportunity to clearly demand what it deserves. Not half, not a quarter, but the whole thing.

A quote from Viktor Orban, Hungarian Prime Minister

Budapest obtained the release of ten billion euros of European funds on Wednesday, after a decision by the European Commission which provoked the anger of certain MEPs. In total, 21 billion in European funds intended for Hungary are still frozen by the EU, within the framework of different procedures, due to the breaches of the rule of law accused of Budapest.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">A new summit of heads of state and government has already been announced for the beginning of 2024 by the President of the European Council Charles Michel .

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We are 26 countries to have given the green light. There is no agreement with Hungary at the moment, but I am sure we will achieve it next year, stressed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The EU had planned to grant Ukraine aid of 50 billion euros, 33 billion in loans and 17 billion x27;euros of donations, over four years starting next year.

This new aid is considered crucial in Kiev at a time when American aid of more than 60 billion dollars remains blocked in Congress due to reluctance from Republican elected officials .

European leaders had, however, managed a few hours earlier to agree on the opening of negotiations for a new deal. accession with Ukraine.

Mr. Orban had this time agreed to abstain, so as not to have to endorse a decision that he has continued to judge to be disastrous for the future of the EU.

The Hungarian leader was not in the room when the text was adopted, this was agreed with him, explained to AFP a European diplomat who requested anonymity. It's a pragmatic solution […] The political signal is given, he continued.

In a video published on Facebook, Viktor Orban then explained that his country did not want to share responsibility for this insane choice of the 26 other states and therefore abstained.

It is a victory for Ukraine, for all of Europe, a victory which motivates, inspires and makes us stronger, launched Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, while the White House welcomed a historic decision.

If the process is long, the symbolism is strong for this country at war since February 24, 2022, the date of the start of the x27;Russian invasion.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed a strong sign of support for Ukraine which offers perspective to this country. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of a logical, just and necessary response to the aspirations of his people.

Volodymyr Zelensky was waiting, as were millions of ;Ukrainians, a signal of encouragement from Europeans, at a time when negative signals from Washington are multiplying.

For weeks, clouds have been gathering over Ukraine: its military counter-offensive has not produced a decisive breakthrough and Western aid is essential to the effort. of war, is blocked.

At the very moment when the crucial summit in Brussels began, Vladimir Putin displayed by contrast his confidence in a victory for Moscow. Almost along the entire length of the contact line, our armed forces are improving their positions, the Russian president said.

If Putin wins in Ukraine, he There is a real risk that his aggression will not stop there, warned NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in unison with several European leaders.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The EU also decided to grant candidate country status to Georgia and to open, under conditions, negotiations for ;accession with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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