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EU Commission rejects unfreezing €10 billion for Hungary

EU Commission rejects unfreezing €10 billion for Hungary Victor Orban (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The European Commission awaits the final step from Hungary to unlock Budapest's access to billions of euros frozen after Prime Minister Viktor Orban undermined the democratic system of checks and balances, according to Reuters.

The European Commission stated that Hungary's recent judicial reforms must first be published in the country's official journal to take effect, which would then allow unlocking up to 10 billion euros in Budapest's development aid from the bloc's general budget.

The bloc hoped that releasing the funds would influence Prime Minister Viktor Orban. However, his senior aide demanded a sum of up to 30 billion euros in a statement to Bloomberg.

The European Commission responded with further raised stakes as the EU engages in an escalating battle with Hungary over its support for Ukraine, which Orban threatens to veto at the bloc's leaders' summit in Brussels on December 14-15.

EU summit and Hungary's stance

The EU leaders' summit scheduled for December 14-15 aims to approve a four-year aid package of 50 billion euros for Ukraine and initiate accession talks.

Hungary is ready to lift its veto on the EU's proposal for financing Ukraine in exchange for funds that the bloc has withheld from Budapest due to democratic backsliding and widespread corruption.

The chief political adviser to Hungary's prime minister, Balazs Orban, stated that Hungary wanted the EU to release the entire sum - around 30 billion euros - frozen last year over rule of law issues and graft. This aid is suspended until the country fulfills nearly two dozen other requirements, ranging from ensuring academic freedom to safeguarding LGBT rights and asylum.