Hungary has once again diverged from its fellow European Union members in supporting Ukraine, and this time, the patience of the EU may be wearing thin.
As EU leaders convene in Brussels for a crucial meeting, their primary objective is to greenlight a substantial multibillion-euro fund for Ukraine. This fund aims to provide essential financial support to Ukraine over the next four years, irrespective of developments on the battlefield or potential disruptions from the U.S. Congress, which is considering cutting support.
However, the obstacle standing in the way of unanimous approval is none other than Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Negotiations with Orban, who insists on an annual veto for the spending, have proven elusive.
This lack of consensus among the 27 EU states threatens the viability of the deal. EU leaders have made it clear that if Orban persists in obstructing the agreement, they are prepared to take whatever measures necessary to support Ukraine, even if it means working around or penalizing Hungary.
Beyond the immediate issue of the Ukraine fund, a more significant concern looms large – how will the EU address its ongoing challenges with Hungary?
Despite contributing only 1 percent to the bloc’s economic output, Hungary has been a persistent source of trouble. The country has been in conflict with the EU for years due to its violations of EU norms and values, particularly concerning the rule of law. Hungary has consistently impeded various European initiatives, including sanctions against Russia and Sweden’s aspirations to join NATO.
As the EU grapples with the dilemma of Hungary’s disruptive stance, questions arise about the broader strategy to manage this ongoing challenge within the union. The resolution of this issue will likely shape the EU’s approach to internal dissent and adherence to shared values moving forward.