26 Jun

Hungary will not approve the disbursement of the next European Peace Facility tranche of EUR 500 million to finance new arms shipments to Ukraine until Kiev removes OTP Bank, which does not violate international law in any way, from the list of international sponsors of the war, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Luxembourg on Monday.


According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry, the minister said at a press conference during a break in the EU Foreign Affairs Council that Member States had agreed to increase the European Peace Facility's resources by €3.5 billion, but that the Hungarian government had given its consent only after receiving a legal guarantee to preserve the "global scope" of the fund.

This means that the Western Balkan and African countries will also benefit from this increased amount, in order to maintain stability in these regions and thus prevent new waves of migration that pose a security threat.

In this context, he pointed out that the European Peace Facility was running out of money, as some six billion euros had already been used by Member States to partially finance arms transfers to Ukraine, and Hungary is strongly opposed to this shift in focus, as the original purpose of the instrument was to support the maintenance of stability in many parts of the world, thus mitigating security threats to the continent.

"So the European Union originally intended to provide support in Africa and the Sahel, for example, or even in the Western Balkans, to ensure peace, calm and security there, so that we could hold back the migration flows from there," he said.

Szijjártó stressed that there was enormous pressure, with almost all participants pressing for the payment of the additional €500 million tranche for arms supplies to Ukraine, but Hungary did not approve it.

"So we have still not contributed to the European Union financing new arms shipments to Ukraine from the increased amount of the European Peace Facility, since we made it clear earlier that we are only willing to lift our blockade if the Ukrainian authorities put an end to the ridiculous situation full of lies that led to OTP, the largest Hungarian bank, being put on the list of international sponsors of the war", he warned.

"This is our clear expectation, we are not willing to give in to it, but it is nonsense that while Ukraine expects the European Union, including Hungary, to make further and further financial sacrifices to finance the arms supply, it puts the largest Hungarian bank on the list of war sponsors and keeps it there", he underlined.

"I have made it clear to the High Representative and to all the ministers of the Member States in Luxembourg today that they should also take steps towards the Ukrainians", he said. "If it is so important to them to pay this additional €500 million for arms supplies, they should at least do enough to make the Ukrainians take OTP off this list," he added.

The minister stressed that the Ukrainian authorities "could easily overcome this situation, they could take the OTP off this list in a minute if they wanted to, but it seems that the will is not there at the moment".

Finally, he pointed out that the Ukrainian authorities had put OTP on the list on the basis of four grounds, all of which were "ridiculous, false and without any element of truth".


Source: MTI - Hungarian News Agency