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European Parliament threatens lawsuit over frozen EU funds to Hungarian government
MEP Daniel Freund told EUrologus that the European Parliament (EP) is taking Hungary to the European Court of Justice over the partial release of funds by the European Commission. "There is a well-founded suspicion that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has bought Hungary's agreement to start accession negotiations with Ukraine, which the Hungarian Prime Minister had previously threatened to veto," Freund told EUrologus.
He said this procedure is a severe breach of the rule of law and that the lawsuit is a clear signal to the Commission President that she will "not get away with allocating billions of euros to avoid Hungary's veto."
On Thursday, the EP called for withholding further EU funds to Hungary until the Orban government satisfies all criteria directed at reversing the erosion of the rule of law.
Hungary proposes agreement on Ukraine aid with annual veto right
Hungary has indicated that they are open to reconsidering their opposition to the €50 billion EU aid package for Ukraine, proposing certain conditions. The Orbán government is open to dropping its veto if the aid is divided into four annual envelopes of €12.5 billion each, subject to annual reviews allowing Orbán and other EU leaders an option to veto further disbursement. Another condition is an extension of the August 2026 deadline for countries to meet COVID-19 recovery fund milestones by two years. The current rule-of-law concerns have restricted Hungary's access to the funds.
Sources told the Financial Times that the Commission is willing to accommodate some of Hungary's demands. Alongside annual audits, the EU executive is considering the introduction of an "emergency brake" clause, enabling countries to discuss concerns regarding Ukraine payments at EU leaders' summits. This clause, however, would not grant Orbán a veto. Alternatives, such as an EU26 agreement excluding Hungary, are also being explored to overcome Orbán's resistance. A Special European Council summit on February 1 will delve into these discussions.
Pro-Russia propagandist behind pro-Orban account in Poland, VSquare reveals
VSquare and Frontstory have exposed the identity behind a significant social media account spreading "pro-Orbán propaganda" in Poland. The man managing the Viktor Orbán PL account is pro-Russia commentator Andrzej Szczęśniak, known for his insights into energy-related matters and a background in managing energy companies. While acknowledging his role in running the account, Szczęśniak claims to do so in his free time as an Orbán "fan," denying any compensation or direct links to the far-right Hungarian government.
Analysis of the Polish-language account reveals numerous posts, including translations or reposts of Hungary's prime minister's official social media content, indicating a dedicated and professional approach. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Szczęśniak appeared on a pro-Russian, anti-Ukrainian, and antisemitic online channel, asserting that Russia's actions were a response to Ukraine's alleged construction of nuclear weapons.
Szijjarto and Ukrainian FM to meet end of January
The Orban government has officially announced that Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is set to engage in discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in western Ukraine on January 29. Szijjártó emphasized that the summit will examine issues concerning bilateral cooperation, with a potential consideration of a high-level meeting between the leaders to foster diplomatic progress. In addition to Foreign Minister Kuleba, Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, is slated to participate in the meeting, as confirmed by a spokesperson from the foreign ministry.
It's worth noting that Orbán has not convened a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and has refrained from visiting Kyiv since the initiation of the Russian invasion in 2022. The last interaction between Orbán and Zelenskyy occurred on the sidelines of the inauguration of Argentine President Javier Milei in Buenos Aires.