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European Parliament on aid to Ukraine: The European Union must provide assistance

European Parliament on aid to Ukraine: The European Union must provide assistance

On Wednesday, the European Parliament discussed with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen possible future EU aid for Ukraine and the appropriateness of giving Hungary EU funds.

– The recent meeting with the European Council showed the political will to help Ukraine as long as it is needed. But we must support this decision with adequate funding,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

She noted that Ukraine not only wants to become a member of the European Union in the future, but also implements the necessary reforms.

– Ukraine's democratic institutions not only adhere to our recommendations, but also meet the aspirations of their people. She said that an entire nation shows us how important Europe is to them. But how will EU countries convince Hungary, which has so far withheld payments, to approve proposed $50 billion in EU aid for Ukraine?

The three largest party groups in parliament, the Conservatives, Liberals and Social Democrats, criticized the fact that the European Council had not agreed to support Ukraine and urged this to happen at the summit scheduled for February 1.

– Europe stands at an existential crossroads and European leaders must show that they truly deserve respect from our citizens and from the whole world, said Pedro Márquez, Vice President of the Social Democratic S&D Group.

He stressed that the European Union's responsibility is to help Ukraine.

Criticism of Hungary

The second topic discussed was the fact that Hungary received EU funds that had previously been frozen because it was deemed that the country had not met all the principles of the rule of law.

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Ursula von der Leyen declared that the funds received by Onegin were legitimate because last May the country passed a change in the law that responded to many of the Commission's demands.

– It is a law that strengthens the independence of the judiciary and limits the possibility of political interference in the judiciary. This was required so that Hungary could fulfill the conditions for obtaining a share of the Cohesion Fund. “This is what we asked for, and this is what Hungary delivered to us,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

She also added that nearly €20 billion in EU aid to Hungary remains frozen because the country has not yet met specific requirements for LGBTQ rights, academic freedom and asylum rights. Finally, Ongen has received advance funding through the EU Re-Empowerment Project, but this is in the same way as all other Member States are entitled to it.

It did not agree that the Committee had deviated in any way from the rules regarding Hungary's contribution.

– These are the rules, we have all agreed to them, and we will follow them. Ursula von der Leyen concluded that this is what makes the rule of law distinct from arbitrary power.

Several European Union parliamentarians responded to this question.

Among other things, Pedro Márquez said that the European Union had allowed itself to be blackmailed by Viktor Orbán while

Manfred Weber said that it was good for the Commission and the Council to conduct an assessment of Hungary that showed positive change. At the same time, he would like the Council to respond to Parliament's request for an Article 7 investigation, which could ultimately lead to Hungary being stripped of its voting and veto rights in the EU.

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– Until now, the leaders have neither had the courage nor the time to investigate the crux of the matter when it comes to Hungary. “So you must respond to our request,” Weber said.