The government continues to reject European Union financing for weapon deliveries to Ukraine, and will do so until it is guaranteed that Ukraine “will never again use trumped-up accusations to put another Hungarian company on its list of sponsors of the war”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels on Monday. Szijjártó told a press conference in the break of an EU foreign ministers’ meeting that “there has been enormous pressure” on Hungary to agree to another 500 million euro payment from the European Peace Facility for weapon deliveries to Ukraine. “Some called [the Hungarian stance] unfair, others said it was scandalous … but I asked my EU colleagues not to mislead the public,” he said. “This isn’t support for Ukraine. This 500 million euros would help member states which decided to deliver weapons there as sovereign countries to recover part of the price of those weapons,” he said. “Hungary will not contribute to paying 1,500 million euros until the Ukrainian anti-corruption agency guarantees that Hungarian companies … will not land on the list of sponsors of the war based on unfounded and sometimes ridiculous charges,” he said.
Regarding Ukraine’s EU candidacy, Szijjártó said the country was “very far from fulfilling the requirements and even from any sort of progress”. On the issue of minority rights, a priority in the EU, Ukraine has been backsliding, he said. “We have had reports that the Ukrainian education ministry had instructed schools that teachers and students should use the official language, Ukrainian, even during breaks.” The government sees no reason to advance Ukraine’s candidacy, he said. “Besides, the European Union should take peace to third countries rather than importing war into the bloc,” he said. Szijjártó said he expected mounting pressure on the issue. “I think it is particularly cynical on Ukraine’s part that they’re obviously not even trying to solve the issues important to us … They are expecting Hungarians to cave under the growing pressure,” he said.