Chancellor Olaf Scholz has proposed dropping unanimity voting requirements for EU enlargement and aid to Kiev
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has blasted Hungary for stalling the EU’s Ukraine aid efforts and accession talks and has suggested holding a majority vote at the European Council Summit regarding support for Kiev.
His comments come as EU leaders are set to meet on Thursday and Friday to discuss a wide range of issues, including further financial aid to Ukraine, as well as the opening of accession talks for Kiev.
The European Commission initially recommended that the bloc start membership negotiations with Ukraine during the summit, arguing that Kiev had fulfilled most of the requirements to warrant such a step.
However, the fast-tracking of Ukraine’s accession has been vehemently opposed by Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria, who have threatened to block any expedited negotiations, insisting that Kiev still has a long way to go and also stressing that the EU itself is not yet ready to receive a new member. Budapest has also been threatening to block the EU’s €50 billion ($54 billion) aid package for Kiev.
Speaking at the German Bundestag on Wednesday, Scholz blasted Hungary for stalling EU support for Ukraine, arguing that “almost all” EU members wanted to continue providing financial assistance to Kiev.
The German leader suggested that Hungary should not have the right to veto such initiatives and that more decisions in the EU need to be made by qualified majority, especially when it comes to the enlargement process.
Scholz also stated during his address to the German parliament that Berlin may have to declare an emergency in the country in order to bypass laws governing the national debt that could prevent additional assistance being provided to Kiev next year if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates.
The chancellor vowed to advocate for “sustainable, reliable support for Ukraine, because it is about the security of Europe,” and suggested spending €8 billion ($8.63 billion) on arms for Kiev next year, an unspecified amount on financial aid to the Ukrainian budget, and another €6 billion ($6.47 billion) on support for Ukrainian refugees.
The German opposition has branded Scholz’s proposal as “financial trickery,” with lawmakers accusing him of abusing legal loopholes to push for more aid to Ukraine. Some have promised to never consent to the bypassing of the debt-brake rule and blasted the German leader for throwing the country’s budget into chaos for the sake of aiding Kiev, which a number of politicians noted has “no chance” of winning the conflict with Russia.