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Iratxe García calls on EU leaders not to give in to blackmail on Ukraine from Putin ally Victor Orbán


13 Dec 2023


Global Europe

Ahead of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday this week, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García Pérez, urges European leaders to stay united, and not to give in to Orbán’s blackmailing tactics. Hungary’s Prime Minister is again threatening to block all European Union aid for Ukraine, as well as the EU Summit's historic decision to start membership talks with Kiev.

S&D Group leader, Iratxe García Pérez, said:

"Standing united and supporting Ukraine fully is now more crucial than ever to ensure that brave Ukrainians can continue defending their country against the Russian aggressor and that their strong European aspirations are fulfilled, in full. Putin's Russia cannot and shall not prevail. I call on the European Council to live up to this historic moment and offer Ukraine a clear EU perspective. The EU must show through concrete actions and not just words that we truly support Ukraine against an aggressor and their fight for European values.

"It is unacceptable that Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is threatening to block the entire EU decision-making process on Ukraine. By doing so he is not only undermining the EU’s image globally, but risking devastating consequences for Ukraine. Without our financial support, the Ukrainian authorities will simply not be able to finance all functions of the state and maintain vital public services in the midst of a war.

"But it is also unacceptable that in an attempt to win Budapest's approval, the European Commission is considering unlocking billions of euros for Hungary that were frozen over rule-of-law and corruption concerns. We must never trade our values for money! We want to see real change and improvements on democracy and the rule of law, and not just empty promises on paper.

"If we give in to Orbán now, he will continue to blackmail us. He has been playing such games with the EU for too long and for many years under the protection of Manfred Weber and the conservative European People's Party umbrella. Who can still count how many times Putin’s Trojan Horse watered down EU sanctions against Russia and delayed financial support for Ukraine? The European Council must not allow a country with such close ties to Vladimir Putin to dictate the EU's foreign policy. This shows once again that we need to get rid of the unanimity rule in the EU decision-making in foreign affairs, as the S&D Group has been saying for a long time.

"We also expect the European Council to take other ambitious decisions relating to enlargement, namely to open accession negotiations with Moldova, grant candidate status to Georgia, and open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina once it delivers on key criteria. Enlargement is a strategic investment in the stability and prosperity of the European continent and in our common European values. To all those who fear that the EU is not capable of incorporating more members, I say that it is exactly the enlargement process that will encourage and accelerate the long-awaited and desperately needed EU internal reforms to finally improve our decision-making."


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