Brussels threatens to hit Hungary's economy if Orban vetoes Ukraine aid – FT

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban attends a roundtable during the summit between leaders of the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Brussels, Belgium July 17, 2023. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

(Reuters) – The European Union will sabotage Hungary’s economy if Budapest blocks fresh aid to Ukraine at a summit this week, under a confidential plan drawn up by Brussels, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Brussels has outlined a strategy to explicitly target Hungary’s economic weaknesses, imperil its currency and drive a collapse in investor confidence in a bid to hurt “jobs and growth” if Budapest refuses to lift its veto on the aid to Kyiv, the newspaper reported, citing a document drawn up by EU officials.

Notorious for many bitter feuds with the EU during his 13 years in power, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a vocal critic of the bloc’s support for Ukraine and boasted about his ties with the Kremlin since Russia went to war in Ukraine in February 2022.

The document seen by FT declares that “in the case of no agreement in the February 1 [summit], other heads of state and government would publicly declare that in the light of the unconstructive behaviour of the Hungarian PM . . . they cannot imagine that” EU funds would be provided to Budapest.

Hungary’s EU minister Janos Boka told the newspaper Budapest was not aware of the financial threat, but that the country “does not give in to pressure”.