Orbán’s Blockade is Not Defused Yet: Two Scenarios for Europe and Ukraine

The EU will find out soon about the real cost of Orbán's intransigence

20 December 2023

Daniel Hegedüs, Zsuzsanna Végh

It is too early to celebrate the dismantling of Hungary’s blockade of the EU accession negotiations with Ukraine after he dropped the veto threat at the December summit – the next two months will show whether the glass is almost full, or almost empty.

The December 14-15 European Council meeting achieved a notable success with EU Member States sidelining Hungary’s blockade to Ukraine’s EU ambitions and opening the door to the accession negotiations with Kyiv.

A surprise with a sting

Yet, the summit failed to secure a €50 billion funding line to the heavily embattled country. At the same time, the European Commission decided to release €10 billion of previously suspended cohesion funds for Hungary, raising suspicion about a potential package deal. As noteworthy as the political outcome regarding Ukraine appears to be, it is at least as surprising – and the optics are certainly not in favour of the Commission either.

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