EU develops mechanism to bypass Hungary's veto on arms for Ukraine

    WORLD  24 June 2024 - 14:54

    High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel has said that the EU developed a mechanism to bypass Hungary's veto on arms purchases for Kyiv at the expense of revenues from frozen Russian assets.

    Bypassing Budapest this way could also remove a hurdle that could complicate G7 efforts to raise a $50 billion loan for Kyiv by December — designed to be paid off by the future proceeds — a decision taken by leaders at a summit in Italy earlier this month, Caliber.Az reports, citing British media.

    Hungary, the EU’s most pro-Russian member state, has long argued against the 27-country bloc collectively providing military support to Ukraine. Budapest is also blocking seven other decisions related to arming Kyiv, worth about €6.6 billion.

    Concerns from the US and other G7 partners over Hungary likely blocking an EU decision to keep the Russian assets immobilised indefinitely caused significant delays in the negotiation over the $50bn loan. The legal workaround for the EU use of proceeds is likely to suffice in guaranteeing the payout of the loan, according to officials familiar with the matter.

    However, Hungary could still block EU sanctions under which Russian assets are blocked, a decision that needs to be renewed unanimously every six months by the EU’s 27 countries, officials said.

    Borrell said Brussels had offered Hungary a similar deal to the one Nato struck with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last week — giving Budapest an opt-out from activities supporting Ukraine in exchange for not vetoing other allies assisting Kyiv under the alliance umbrella — but it had been rejected.

    “We have offered Hungary: your money will not be used to support Ukraine in any means. Not just lethal, but on anything. Take your money. Put your money out of the box. I don’t want to use your money,” Borrell said.

    But Hungary had said no, he added.

    “Even if they are offered not to be part of team, and their money will not be used for Ukraine . . . it has not been enough.” The chief diplomat said Budapest’s position “has something to do with the strong links that they have with Russia”.

    A spokesperson for the Hungarian government declined to comment.

    Caliber.Az

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