According to Bloomberg, in informal talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attempted to persuade him not to obstruct European Union support for Ukraine.
In December 2022, Orban vetoed €50 billion in aid for Ukraine at an EU summit. Brussels is now exploring options to unblock that decision at an emergency summit on 1 February, including mechanisms that could bypass Hungary.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that Meloni offered Orban a deal to shift his stance on Ukraine and restart relations with Kyiv. In exchange, his Fidesz party would join Meloni’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) bloc alongside Italy’s Brothers of Italy, Poland’s Law and Justice, and the nationalist Sweden Democrats, among others. This would strengthen the pan-European ECR ahead of summer elections expected to see far-right gains.
Discussions occurred at various levels, but no decision has yet been made.
Orban maintains overtly pro-Russian positions, repeating Kremlin propaganda claims. He has sharply criticized EU weapons provisions to Kyiv and frequently works to water down or obtain exemptions from proposed Russia sanctions, wielding veto threats.
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