Orbán Isolated At EU Summit, Votes Along Austria, Croatia, Czechia and the US Against Hamas

Democratic Security Outlook 2023: 30 October - 5 November 

30 October 2023

The EU summit postponed the decision on the 50-billion euro aid for Ukraine to December due to differences over how to finance it. The post-summit statement and several leaders said the bloc would continue to support Kyiv’s war effort “for as long as it takes” despite reservations expressed by Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and new Slovak PM Robert Fico.

Upcoming on Visegrad Insight:

  • Berta López Domenèc analyses the EU’s disjointed messaging about the war between Israel and Hamas.
  • Sylvie Kauffmann argues for why the new Polish government should advocate for EU enlargement.

EU/REGIONAL

  • Israel launched ground operations in Gaza while the UN passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. The Israeli army aims to defeat Hamas in their strongholds. The UN resolution was backed by 120 countries even though it did not condemn Hamas’ terror acts on 7 October. Many EU countries’ motives were to end civilian suffering, while others abstained, including most CEE members. Only one EU CEE country – Slovenia – voted Yes, and four voted against, along with the U.S. – Austria, Croatia, Czechia and Hungary.
  • Jerusalem withdrew its diplomats from Ankara after President Recip Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel of war crimes. On Saturday, at a rally in Istanbul, he reiterated his claims that Hamas were not terrorists but “freedom fighters” and said the West was responsible for Palestinian suffering.
  • Turkey-Israel gas deal to begin joint sea drilling hangs in the balance after the two countries made a breakthrough in September, announcing a joint undertaking that would export LNG to Europe.
  • The EU summit failed to agree on a Commission proposal for a budget increase, including a new 50 billion euro package for Ukraine. The EU leaders asked the Commission to present a “more realistic proposal”, as French President Emmanuel Macron said after the meeting. Many EU leaders said the Commission should look into reallocating funds from existing spending plans.
  • Most leaders agreed the EU would continue to support Ukraine financially although Hungary’s familiar reservations were supported by the new Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, returning to the council after a five-year break.
  • Dutch PM Mark Rutte told reporters he was confident both countries would not break EU unity on the issue at the December summit when the final decision needs to be made by unanimity. Neither Fico nor the Hungarian PM Orbán vetoed an EU statement vowing to continue delivering funds and military equipment to Ukraine.
  • Der Spiegel says that the EU is readying a deal under which it will unblock frozen funds for Hungary in return for Orbán’s agreement to continue funding Kyiv.
  • EU leaders criticised Serbia and Kosovo for refusing steps towards lowering tensions and resuming talks on greater autonomy for the Serb-dominated northern part of Kosovo. The EU said both countries were jeopardising their EU aspirations.
  • Germany wants to extend border controls with CEE neighbours for another 20 days as the country seeks to stem migrant smuggling. Polish media reported on growing queues of cars and lorries on the Polish-German border.
  • Moscow and Beijing signed a $25 billion deal to export 70 million tonnes of Russian grain to China.

Ukrainian pilots begin F-16 training as Russian losses mount 

UKRAINE

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