Hungary PM Orban censures Brussels for 'Hungarophobia'
Hungary's premier accuses the European Union of being Hungarophobic after the bloc proposed freezing some €13 billion allocated for his country in light of disputes with Brussels.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused Wednesday the European Union of what he called "Hungarophobia", noting that prejudice instead of graft concerns was delaying an agreement meant to be reached with Brussels over frozen bloc funds.
The European Commission recommended freezing €13 billion ($13.8 billion) in funds that were set aside for Hungary as Budapest faces mounting pressure for reforms on corruption.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said earlier that Hungary needs to be ready for serious attacks from the EU since "Brussels and the liberal propaganda machine" are not discriminating in their methods and are employing various forms of blackmail against Budapest.
Commenting on this issue, Orban lately said that the European Commission was purposefully blocking funds allocated to Hungary to alter the country's policies on a number of issues, including migration and sanctions.
On September 18, the European Commission proposed to freeze €7.5 billion ($7.8 billion) meant for Hungary over allegations of Budapest violating rule-of-law, corruption, and curtailing judiciary and freedom of the press.
The European Union launched the rule-of-law mechanism earlier this year after accusing Budapest of abusing the unanimity vote.
Earlier this month, however, the European Union reduced the amount of blocked funding after Hungary agreed to give financial aid for Ukraine, as well as a global minimum tax after the two sides reached a compromise.
This came after the Hungarian government announced that it was transferring €187 million to Ukraine as part of a European Parliament-approved $18 billion loan.
"The government... calls on the Finance Minister [Mihaly Varga] to take care of securing 187 million euros, which make up Hungary's share of the €18 billion euros loan the European Union will provide to Ukraine," the decree, signed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said.
The EU loan, obtained from financial markets, will be repaid in quarterly installments with the consistency and predictability needed to keep Ukraine afloat amid the conflict.
Read next: EU financial aid to Ukraine depends on delayed funding for Hungary
"We were able to agree with the EU, which was an exceptional performance by us as we had to fight against Hungarophobia in a world dominated by liberalism," Orban told reporters at an annual press conference.
"It should be pulled out. What the EU is doing today is a few rule-of-law people trying to impose their will on a few countries," Orban said after calling the rule-of-law process "a serious nail in the EU's coffin."
Hungary continues to do what serves the interests of its people, Orban said two weeks ago, as "the bureaucrats in Brussels are adding new conditions, they want to impose their will on us on the issues of migration, sanctions, and gender."
Orban said the reputation of the European Parliament was "already nil" and could not go lower in his country. "The swamp should be drained."
It is worth noting that the conditionality regime is a mechanism used to promote the 'rule of law' and to withhold EU funding from states the Commission deems as "delinquent".
Withholding EU cash from defaulting nations is how it operates. The first nation to have problems with this method was Hungary.
Hungary was the only country in the EU to refuse to support Brussels' initiative to train the Ukrainian army in Europe, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in October, highlighting that his country would not participate in the EU's training of Kiev's soldiers.
The country is the only European Union member state to take such a stance, with its Foreign Minister explaining Budapest's position by underlining that it supported peace efforts rather than escalation.
It has been staunchly opposed to the European Union's policies against Russia since the onset of the Ukraine war, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban refusing to impose sanctions the way the rest of the bloc has, in addition to refusing various other anti-Russian measures.