Over the past several weeks, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron have been doing the groundwork to persuade Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to not block €50 billion of aid to Ukraine.
Source: Politico, citing sources familiar with the talks; European Pravda
Details: Sources in Meloni’s circle told Politico that she started to establish contact with Orbán’s close circle several months ago, during the EU summit in December. Ahead of the European Council summit on 1 February, Italian and Hungarian delegations stayed up late in search of a compromise.
This week Meloni also held a telephone conversation with Orbán, met with him for an hour ahead of the European Council summit in Brussels, and then again on the morning of 1 February just before the European Council summit began.
“She tried several times to be a bridge and the impression is that this time it worked,” said an EU diplomat.
Macron also played a role in persuading Orbán. Macron maintained close contact with Orbán over the course of the past several weeks. During a meeting in January Macron also asked the Hungarian prime minister for his opinion on how best to integrate the countries in the EU’s eastern block.
“He never wanted to antagonize Orbán, but rather to get him on board. It is the approach that is paying off today,” said someone close to the French president.
“These charm offensives allowed European Council President Charles Michel to immediately start the summit by announcing the long-awaited deal, one official briefed on the discussion in the room said,” Politico wrote.
EU leaders agreed on 1 February to give Ukraine €50 billion over the course of the next four years.
Ukraine will be able to receive funds if it meets a number of conditions. EU leaders will review the programme annually, and may propose to the European Commission a review of the entire aid framework after the first two years.
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