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Government official calls for strategic review of EU aid to Ukraine

Hungary believes the European Union and its member states should conduct a strategic review of their approach to Russia's war against Ukraine, the state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians said in Brussels on Tuesday.
22. November 2023 6:26

The EU has allocated more than 80 billion euros towards aiding Ukraine, Tristan Azbej told MTI after a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council’s development configuration. “We believe it’s time to assess the effectiveness of this aid scheme and how it leads to what Hungary considers the most important objective: a ceasefire and peace,” he said.

Azbej said Hungary was undertaking the largest humanitarian aid and reconstruction operation in its history in connection with the war, adding, at the same time, that European policies and measures had failed to achieve their objectives in this area.

The state secretary said he had also stressed the importance of humanitarian aid, crisis resolution and peace in connection with the conflict in Gaza at the council meeting.

“Those who are suffering deserve humanitarian assistance regardless of which side they are on,” Azbej said. He said it was in this spirit that Hungary demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, including the Hungarian citizens, being held by the Hamas terrorist group.

Hungary, in cooperation with Egypt, provides support to the civilians who have fled Gaza, he said, adding that peace still needed to be the primary consideration.

An escalation of the conflict to an interstate war must be prevented by all means possible, Azbej said. He added that Hamas was a terrorist organisation and Israel had a right to defend itself and wage war against terrorism.

Meanwhile, Azbej said Hungary devoted special attention to the Sahel region. “Hungary has recognised that what’s happening there doesn’t just determine the future of the African continent, but also impacts the future of Europe,” he said. “This region in Africa faces the challenges of climate change, slow economic development, a food and water shortage and political instability. Extremist ideologies are gaining more and more ground, and the persecution of Christians is also getting more severe.”

The situation in the Sahel could lead to a lasting humanitarian disaster on the continent, which, he said, the Hungarian government wanted to avoid in the interest of saving lives and preventing a mass migration wave.

The state secretary said the Hungary Helps humanitarian agency will soon open a regional office in Chad to coordinate and carry out complex humanitarian projects and care for those forced to leave their homes. It will also carry out agriculture development activities based on Hungarian expertise with a view to tackling water and food shortages, he added.

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