Hungary cannot foot the bill – public opinion rejects Brussels' plan to finance Ukraine

In a joint article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for a 21st-century Marshall Plan, modelled on the Marshall Plan, a comprehensive aid programme provided by the United States to Western Europe after World War II, under which the European Union would launch a large-scale assistance programme to finance Ukraine's reconstruction. Von der Leyen and Scholz stressed that this is a multigenerational task that needs to start now. Századvég mapped what the Hungarian population thinks about the various forms  of  financial and military assistance to Ukraine, especially the  idea of rebuilding the country with European – including Hungarian – taxpayers' money.

Brussels would make EU Member States pay for Ukraine's reconstruction

The idea of rebuilding Ukraine with European funding is not new, it has been part of Brussels' political agenda for months. In March 2022, the European Council decided to set up a solidarity trust fund for Ukraine and called for the necessary preparations to start without delay. Then, in May, an international conference was held in support of Ukraine, which aimed, among other things, to raise funds for the reconstruction of the country. Subsequently, at its extraordinary meeting on 30 and 31 May, the European Council stated that consideration should be given to the creation of a platform for the reconstruction of Ukraine, involving the Ukrainian Government, the European Union and its Member States, and the European Investment Bank, among others. At the same time, the panel invited the  European Commission to put forward proposals in the context of EU support for  the recovery. It can therefore be seen that

there is a clear political will on the part of Brussels to rebuild Ukraine with European money.

Hungarian taxpayers cannot bear the cost of the recovery

In light of the research data, it can be stated that the expectations of the public do not meet the ideas of the leaders in Brussels regarding the raising of the necessary financial resources for the reconstruction of  Ukraine. According to the survey, the majority of Hungarians (53 percent) are opposed to the European Union and its Member States financing Ukraine's recovery. Similarly,

more than two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed do not agree with the European Union and its Member States funding Ukrainian pensions and social benefits during the war, and more than three-quarters (79 percent) do not support the use of European money to cover Ukrainian salaries during the armed conflict.

In addition, it is important to stress that military assistance to Ukraine continues to be rejected by the Hungarian population. Seventy-eight percent of respondents oppose the training of Ukrainian forces in the European Union (up from  77 percent in August),  

and 81 percent do not support the European Union and its members buying weapons for Ukraine.

In addition to the European Union, the poll also covered Hungary's involvement in providing financial assistance to Ukraine. It can be stated that

nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of those surveyed reject the idea that Hungarian taxpayers are funding Ukraine.

CATI method, n=1000, among the Hungarian adult population, data collection: November 2022

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