A robust and united position among EU member states convinced Viktor Orbán to end his “blackmail” and support a €50bn (£43bn) funding package for Ukraine, European prime ministers have said.
The Hungarian prime minister, who had been vowing to block the funds since December, performed one of the fastest U-turns seen at a leaders’ summit after six weeks of brinkmanship.
There was relief that the deal was finally done but also a sense of fury among leaders who had been dragged to Brussels for the second time in as many months to try to get the package over the line after Orbán blocked the aid in December.
The Finnish prime minister, Petteri Orpo, said: “Nobody can blackmail 26 countries of the EU. Our values were not for sale.”
Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, who said he had “nothing nice” to say to the Hungarian prime minister, warned there would be no reward for Orbán or anyone who had tried to solicit “rotten compromises”.
With support for Ukraine’s war effort faltering in Washington, leaders stressed the importance of the decision which would help underwrite Ukraine’s public services including teachers, doctors and soldiers’ pay for the next four years.
Europe’s support was “united and unanimous” and not torn asunder by one Kremlin- friendly country, said the French president, Emmanuel Macron.
“The message is clear, Russia cannot count on any fatigue from Europeans in their support for Ukraine.” [Continue reading…]