The EU is planning to sabotage Hungary’s economy if Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocks a 50 billion euro aid package to Ukraine at a summit of EU leaders that will happen on Thursday, Financial Times reported on Monday.
The plan that has been outlined by EU officials in a document obtained by FT looks to exploit Hungary’s economic weaknesses, hurt its currency, and scare off investors to hurt “jobs and growth” in the country.
If Orban doesn’t lift his veto of the Ukraine aid, the EU plans to cut off all funding to Hungary. Without that funding, the document says, “financial markets and European and international companies might be less interested in investing in Hungary,” and that could “quickly trigger a further increase of the cost of funding of the public deficit and a drop in the currency.”
An EU diplomat speaking to FT admitted that the plan to pressure Hungary is “blackmail.”
In response to the report, Hungary’s envoy to the EU, Janos Boka, said Budapest doesn’t “give in to pressure” and would continue to negotiate on the issue. “Hungary does not establish a connection between support for Ukraine and access to EU funds, and rejects other parties doing so,” he said.
Hungary has come under heavy criticism from other EU states and the US for its stance on the proxy war in Ukraine. US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman slammed Orban last week for what he called a “fantasy foreign policy.”
The EU has been trying for months to pass the 50 billion euro aid package that’s meant to be disbursed over four years to fund the Ukrainian government. President Biden is also struggling to get new spending for Ukraine. Kyiv has said Ukrainian government workers could face delays in the payment of their salaries or pensions if the US and the EU do not approve new aid packages soon.