Brussels’ strategy of providing military and economic aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia has been deemed a failure by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. As a result, Hungary has blocked a €50 billion EU aid package for Ukraine, stating that it is evident that Kiev will not be able to defeat Moscow. Orban has consistently called for a ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine.
Speaking at a summit in Brussels, Orban criticized the multibillion euro proposal, claiming that it had not been properly developed and was not suitable as a basis for serious negotiations. He explained the rejection of the aid package by stating, “Today, everybody knows but they do not dare to say it out loud, that this strategy has failed. It is obvious that this will not work… the Ukrainians will not win on the frontline.”
The aid package in question, known as the Ukraine Facility, includes €33 billion in low-interest loans and €17 billion in non-repayable grants for Ukraine, as well as €15 billion to handle migration-related issues. As it requires modifications to the EU budget, approval from all 27 member states is necessary. In addition to Hungary, Slovakia has also vetoed the draft due to concerns about corruption in Ukraine.
Hungary’s opposition to the aid package extends beyond this specific proposal. The country has also maintained a veto on a €500 million top-up to the European Peace Facility (EPF), a €5.6 billion fund used by the EU to finance foreign militaries and reimburse member states for arms sent to foreign conflicts.
According to the European Commission, the EU has provided Ukraine with a total of €83 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid since February 2022. However, Orban has expressed skepticism about Ukraine’s chances of achieving victory on the battlefield. In an interview with German tabloid Bild, he referred to the idea of a Ukrainian victory as “impossible” and warned that without an immediate ceasefire, Ukraine would suffer significant losses in wealth and lives, along with unimaginable destruction.
Recent Russian figures indicate that Ukraine lost more than 90,000 soldiers in its unsuccessful summer counteroffensive. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed that the Ukrainian military was “panicking,” while a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky acknowledged that the offensive was “six to nine months behind schedule.”
The stance taken by Hungary and Slovakia highlights the divisions within the EU regarding its approach to the conflict in Ukraine. While some member states advocate for continued support and sanctions against Russia, others question the effectiveness of these strategies and express concerns about corruption and the potential for further escalation of violence. As the conflict persists, finding a unified and effective response remains a challenge for the European Union.