Hungary blocks €500 million military aid to Ukraine

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Hungarian government blocks EU military aid fund for Ukraine because of OTP blacklisting

Hungary will block EU military aid for Ukraine as well as new sanctions against Russia, unless Hungarian OTP Bank is removed from list of war sponsors, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Vienna on Wednesday. The blocked tranche is worth €500 million and was due by next Monday.

"The [Hungarian] government will not approve the next tranche of the European Peace Facility until Ukraine removes OTP from the list of international sponsors of the war," Szijjarto said. He added that partially this is the reason Hungary does not support new sanctions. According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister the eleventh sanctions package "goes against common sese as the previous ten also failed."

On the aid to Ukraine he notedi it would 'increase the risk of escalation'. Szijjaro said that Hungary is "expected to suffer further economic damage, meanwhile Ukraine is becoming more and more hostile" towards them. He called it "scandalous and unacceptable" that Ukraine added OTP on the list of international sponsors of the war. 

Several questions unanswered after EP Budgetary Control Committee visit

Monika Hohlmeier, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control paid a three-day visit to Hungary as part of a delegation from Brussels, the first country to be subject to a rule of law procedure. Hohlmeir said their goal was to  "make sure that EU funds reach the Hungarian people." The delegation met with representatives of organizations that have a role in protecting the EU budget - includint the President of the State Audit Office and the National Tax Administration.

The European Parliament is not directly involved in the rule of law procedure, however the EU's Court of Auditors and the European Commission were both represented in the delegation. "This is my eighth visit to Hungary, but I always discover new things, many of which I think are unimaginable in another member state," Daniel Freund, a Green Party MEP. Hohlmeier noted that the delegation had a 'mixed experience' in Hungary and several questions remained unanswered.

Orban congratulates Erdogan on election victory

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone, to congratulate him on his success in the first round of Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections, Orban's spokesperson told Hungarian news agency, MTI.

Orban told Erdogan that Hungary and Europe needs a strong and stable Turkey and wished him success for the May 28 run-off. “Turkey’s stability is good news for the entire continent. Europe faces a number of serious security challenges, and to overcome these challenges, we need to nurture a stable, predictable relationship with Turkey, " the Hungarian PM wrote. Orban was the only EU prime minister to congatrulate Erdogan on Monday.

Hungary is the only EU country with inflation above 15 percent

Hungarian inflation is consistently the highest in Europe, but in March there were several other examples in the region where annual inflation was higher than 15% (Latvia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, and even Serbia outside the EU).

According to Eurostat's data from April, inflation is now at or below 15 percent everywhere, far below the 24.5 percent recorded in Hungary. In March, inflation was at 25.6 percent. 

Inflation in the EU as a whole is 8.1 percent, slightly lower than the 8.3 percent recorded in March.