Szijjarto dismisses reports about Hungary blocking €500 million EU military aid to Ukraine

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Hungary’s foreign minister says Budapest is not planning to veto the funds for Ukraine

While the Hungarian government isn’t in favor of the European Union sending funding for weapons to Ukraine, it won’t block a planned 500 million euros in military aid, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Monday in Brussels. Szijjarto called media reports on the matter  “lies".

Earlier Euronews reported that Hungary is blocking the release of €500 million in military aid to Ukraine. Three EU diplomats told Euronews that Budapest is vetoing the disbursement of the European Peace Facility (EPF) mechanism fund. One of the diplomats called the move a "violation of a gentlemen's agreement" and "an attempt to undermine EU unity". 

Budapest also blocked the approval of an €18bn aid package for Ukraine in December and removed its veto only after they reached an agreement to lower the sum of EU funds frozen under the new rule-of-law mechanism.

Slovak Foreign Minister: "Hungary is the only country in the EU that is not a Western-style democracy"

In an interview with Aktuality, Rastislav Káčer, Slovakia's Foreign Minister said that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is enabling Russian propaganda and that Hungary is the only country in the European Union that is not a Western-style democracy. Káčer also added that the majority of the European Parliament and the European Commission share this view.  

Slovakia's Foreign Minister answered a question about Russian disinformation when he said that in most European countries fake news from Russia does not have as strong of an influence as in Slovakia and added that Orban is also spreading pro-Kremlin narratives in Hungary. He also said that he was experiencing a "constant sh*tstorm" from Budapest.

Tamás Menczer, Hungarian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, replied to Káčer's comments on his social media asking him to "speak about Hungarians in a respectful way".

Direkt 36:  Database exposes Hungarian oligarchs' fortunes

Businessmen, who have close ties with the Hungarian government own several private equity funds with vast fortunes whose owners have so far remained secret, Hungarian investigative outlet Direkt36 reports. According to the article  Lőrinc Mészáros, a longtime friend of nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán has interests in even more private equity funds than he had been associated with in the press. The private equity fund that won the Hungarian motorway concession for 35 years belongs to billionaire László Szíjj, a business associate of Mészáros.

The report also revealed that  István Száraz, who is a friend of the central bank director’s son, Ádám Matolcsy, is the ultimate beneficial owner of almost 11 percent of the Hungarian superbank Magyar Bank holding and that two private equity funds are owned a businessman named Áron Hornung, who has several links to Istvan Tiborcz's (Orbán’s son-in-law’s) business partner, Endre Hamar.

Orban's political director: "Whoever controls the media in a country, controls the mindset of that country and the country itself"

"Media is a strategic sector and a matter of sovereignty because whoever controls the media in a country controls the mindset of that country and, through that, the country", Balázs Orbán, Viktor Orban's political director (no relation to the Prime Minister) said on the opening day of the second international media conference of Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) in Budapest on Wednesday, according to the Hungarian State News Agency, MTI.

Balazs Orban, who is also the chairman of MCC's board said that at least 70-80 percent of the media in Western countries is nationally owned ( MTI did not mention the source of this data.)  The prime minister's political director stressed that in pre-2010 Hungary, it was less than 24 percent, and has only now risen to over 50 percent.

Since Viktor Orban took office in 2010, Hungary tumbled down international press freedom rankings.  “The combined effects of a politically controlled media regulatory authority and distortionary state intervention in the media market have eroded media pluralism and freedom of expression in Hungary,”   Dunja Mijatović the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights concluded said last year.