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The Hungarian government has decided to hold a national poll to find out whether the population still supports giving aid to Ukraine, a week after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told EU leaders he had reservations about the issue.
State Secretary Csaba Djomótor said the government decided to launch the national consultation because of disputes with European institutions that affect Hungary’s economy and security.
In a video message posted on Facebook, Djomitor said the poll aimed to ensure that “decisions for the future remain in our own hands”.
“We are being pressured to give more money to the Russian-Ukrainian war, which is not exactly an attempt to achieve peace,” he said.
The European Commission has proposed increasing the EU budget by 66 billion euros by 2027 at the expense of an increase in member states’ contributions to provide funds to support Ukraine, to tackle illegal migration and to cover additional costs related to with the recovery plan.
50 billion of the amount is intended for financial, economic, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, with the Commission saying that if the money is not approved by the end of the year, it will stop because the current European budget has no more reserves.
Aid to Ukraine
Csaba Djomitor says the government will ask Hungarians to consider whether to increase the national contribution, given that Brussels is withholding money owed to the country. The European Commission has blocked Hungary’s recovery and resilience plan until the government implements certain reforms related to the rule of law, the separation of powers and the fight against corruption.
In 2022, 20% of cohesion funds for Hungary were also frozen, as the European Commission identified a high risk for European funds under a new procedure protecting the EU’s financial interests.
Orbán’s government has for months blocked the release of 500 million euros from the fund through which the EU reimburses its members who provide military aid to Ukraine from their own reserves. Hungary is the only European country not to supply arms and ammunition to Ukraine, but until this summer it regularly allowed others to be paid to do so.
Issues related to the adoption of the reform of the European migration policy, which the Hungarian government opposes, are also expected to be included, as well as the demand from Brussels that member states already stop giving support due to the increase in energy costs, as prices have normalized , and they distort competition in the common market.
Djomitor said the government was opposed to scrapping aid because “families should not bear the brunt of the crisis and companies that collect windfalls should “take their fair share of the burden”.
According to the Secretary of State, if Budapest accepts the directives from Brussels, the energy and heating benefits that households receive, the interest freeze and the tax on excess profits of energy companies will have to be scrapped, which would mean “huge additional costs” for families, he added. he.
National polls do not have the value of a referendum, but rather consultations with which the government is not obliged to comply.
Since Orbán came to power in 2010, 10 such polls have already been held. They are conducted in the form of letters with questions that are sent to each household, who must answer them in writing. Several consultations have already been held on migration, on the attitude towards George Soros, on sanctions against Russia, on economic problems, etc.