EC Is Ready to Concede Hungary to Coordinate Aid to Kyiv

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The EU is considering the option of suspending payments to Ukraine in 2025, which will allow Budapest to stall them “halfway”, sources have said. The European Commission is ready to fulfil some of Hungary’s requirements in order to accept a 50bn-euro macro-financial aid package for Ukraine. This was reported by the Financial Times on Thursday, 11 January, citing unnamed high-ranking European officials. In December 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the macro-financial aid package for Ukraine. Since then, Brussels has been trying to find a way to lift the blockade. One option is to allow Budapest to suspend payments from the macroeconomic aid package to Ukraine “halfway”, in 2025, three sources familiar with the discussions told the FT. The possibility of reassessing the disbursements to Ukraine in 2025 The European Union is ready to reassess the disbursement of funds to Ukraine next year. It will analyze whether Kyiv still needs the aid and fulfils the conditions for receiving it. This would also allow Hungary to veto the continuation of the disbursements, the publication said. “The Commission is also ready to conduct an annual audit of aid and introduce an ‘emergency brake’ provision under which any country will be able to bring serious concerns about Ukraine’s payments to a summit of EU leaders for discussion. However, this will not provide Hungary with an additional opportunity to veto the funding,” the article said. Asked whether these concessions would be enough for Viktor Orban to lift his veto, a senior Hungarian official said, “It is not possible to say for sure yet, but I think probably yes.” The idea of reconsidering the provisions was first proposed by Hungary in October, but other EU leaders opposed the proposal because it would have taken away certainty from Ukraine’s financial support, the FT recalled. “Kyiv insists that EU funds should reach Ukraine no later than March to avoid having to print money to finance spending,” the journalists point out.