In the world of geopolitics and international finance, alliances and rivalries often take center stage. The recent developments between Hungary and Ukraine have cast a spotlight on a complex dance of diplomacy, money, and power.
In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the situation, examining why Hungary, an “ally” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has forced Ukraine to make a rare concession.
The OTP Bank Exclusion
One of the key episodes in this unfolding drama is the exclusion of Hungary’s largest commercial bank, OTP Bank, from Ukraine’s list of so-called “international sponsors of the war.” This move was widely reported by Newsweek.
Kyiv’s decision to remove OTP Bank from the list was made with a hopeful motive – to gain Budapest’s consent for the allocation of funds by Brussels to meet Ukraine’s military needs.
EU’s Concerns and Statements
The decision by Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) comes against the backdrop of growing concerns within the European Union (EU). There have been statements within the EU about the potential unfreezing of funds from European sources for Ukraine. However, a significant obstacle has emerged – the perception that Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is an ally of Russian President Putin.
Unlinking Funds and Discussions
Hungarian Minister of Regional Development, Tibor Navracsics, has emphasized that the process of unfreezing Hungary’s EU funds and negotiating payments from the EU budget to Ukraine should not be directly linked. Instead, a parallel discussion of these two critical topics is more likely.
The Hungarian Standpoint
Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, made it clear in September that Ukraine would not receive EU budget funds until Hungary received its due funds from European sources. This condition arises from the requirement of unanimous support to amend the EU budget.
EU’s Pledge to Help Kyiv
The Financial Times reported that the European Commission has plans to unfreeze approximately 13 billion euros of funding for Hungary by the end of November.