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OTP 'Sponsors of War' Listing Stalls Hungary's Backing for EPF Tranche

Int’l Relations

Image by VladimirMPetrov / Shutterstock.com

Hungary cannot back a new tranche of the European Peace Facility until Ukraine removes OTP Bank from a list of "international sponsors of war", Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday, state news wire MTI reports.

Speaking after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, in Vienna, Szijjártó said Hungary cannot agree to any decision that requires further economic or financial sacrifice until the Hungarian lender is removed from the list compiled by Ukraine's National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP).

OTP's inclusion on the list is "unacceptable", he added.

Ukraine is acting "more hostile" and has "made serious threats against Hungary in recent days", he said, noting reports on comments by Ukraine's president about the Druzhba pipeline, through which Hungary gets most of its crude. He also pointed to Ukraine's failure to respond adequately to Hungary's complaints over legislation that will no longer allow ethnic Hungarian schools in the west of Ukraine to operate from September 1.

Addressing the European Union's latest package of sanctions against Russia, Szijjártó said the area of nuclear energy was kept out of the measures.

He also warned that a proposal to introduce strict checks and restrictions on the exports of eight Chinese companies could "poison" ties between the EU and China and result in a "negative spiral" of retaliation.

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