Thursday, February 15, 2024

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In an effort to access EU aid, Kyiv has decided to remove Hungary’s OTP Bank from its blacklist.


On Friday, the NACP (Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention) declared that Hungary’s OTP Bank has been temporarily taken off the list of “international sponsors of war.” This decision was made in order to secure support from Budapest for the current EU military aid being provided to Ukraine.

The anti-corruption agency announced that after discussions with the bank and officials in Budapest, a decision has been made. The bank’s cooperation with Russia will determine if they will be permanently removed from the blacklist, according to the agency.

The Hungarian bank was placed on the blacklist in May due to their management’s decision to continue operating in Russia. The “war sponsors” list was established after Russia’s complete invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, in an effort to discourage companies from conducting business in Russia.

According to the statement, the agency anticipates that this choice will result in Hungary releasing €500 million of crucial EU military assistance for the citizens of Ukraine.

However, the Hungarian government stated that being temporarily removed from the list of “war sponsors” was not enough.

“The temporary suspension did not result in any significant modifications,” stated Mate Paczolay, spokesperson for the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, in an interview with Hungarian media on Saturday. He also mentioned that Hungary will not be involved in providing EU funding for arms deliveries to Ukraine until OTP Bank is taken off the list.

In July, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó reaffirmed Budapest’s position on the addition of the bank to a list in May. He stated that negotiations for new financial commitments to the European Peace Facility cannot take place until the issue with OTP is resolved.

The NACP has temporarily revoked the designation of five Greek shipping companies as “war sponsors” – Dynacom Tankers Management, Delta Tankers, Thenamaris Ships Management, Minerva Marine, and TMC Tankers – in an effort to prevent Greece from obstructing future EU sanctions aimed at limiting Russia’s ability to sustain the war.

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, stated on Friday that he has reservations about Ukraine joining the EU. He pointed out that due to the ongoing war and mass exodus of its people, the size and population of the country are unknown. He believes it would be unprecedented to accept a country into the EU without knowing its full extent.