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It is “immoral” for Hungary to block an EU financing deal for Ukraine

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by Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Lithuanian Finance Minister Gentare Skaeste told Reuters on Monday it was “immoral” for Hungary to hold up an EU deal on 2023 financing for Ukraine to extract approval for the Budapest recovery plan and billions of dollars from the EU budget.

Hungary has blocked an EU plan to provide 18 billion euros next year in financial aid to war-torn Ukraine through the EU budget, which would make payments regular and predictable, allowing the Kyiv administration to plan ahead.

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To remove the veto, EU officials say, one of the things Budapest wants is EU approval of its plan (RRP) to spend €5.8 billion from the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund. If there is no approval by the end of the year, 70% of the funds are gone.

EU diplomats and officials say the other thing Budapest might want is for EU finance ministers to freeze a smaller amount of EU funds earmarked for Hungary than the €7.5 billion recommended by the Commission last week.

The commission recommended that ministers freeze the funds because it feared it was being misspent due to failure to address the rule of law and high-level corruption problems in Hungary. Hungary says it is addressing the issues, even if some remain to be addressed.

“There are discussions about how to deal with these three issues: one is rule of law, one is RRP and one is Ukrainian support,” Skaeste said.

“It is immoral for Hungary to prevent support for Ukraine and to link this to questions of a different level,” she said.

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“One issue is having an RRP and money for reforms, but another issue is helping Ukraine which is suffering, which is at war and where people are dying. It is immoral to put everything on the same level,” she said. .

Diplomats said whether EU finance ministers will vote tomorrow on the Commission’s recommendations on a recovery plan and freeze funds for Hungary along with the EU financing plan for Ukraine will be decided on Tuesday morning after a round of talks between the ministers.

One option is for ministers to delay a vote on all of these issues until next week and ask the Commission to provide an accelerated review of recent measures taken by Hungary to address EU concerns about the rule of law and corruption.

If the review shows that Hungary has made significant progress, ministers may be tempted to reduce the amount of money from the EU budget that the Commission wants to freeze, which would be a win for Budapest.

“What I anticipate is probably still an extra week of additional discussions,” Skyste said.

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She said that if Hungary continues to mobilize funding for Ukraine through the EU budget, other EU governments could agree to provide funds in another way, as they have done this year.

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MicroStrategy is at its lowest level since 2020 after the sales were revealed

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(Bloomberg) — Shares of MicroStrategy touched their lowest level since August 2020 after the enterprise software company, which in recent years has been known as the largest buyer of bitcoin, revealed its first sale of the token.

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The stock fell 1.1 percent to $136.63 on Thursday, down 75 percent this year. Bitcoin rose less than 1% to around $16,590 and is believed to have fallen 64% since the start of the year.

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In a filing on Wednesday, MicroStrategy said it acquired approximately 2,395 Bitcoin between the beginning of November and December 21 through its subsidiary MacroStrategy, and paid out approximately $42.8 million in cash. It then sold 704 of the tokens on Dec. 22 for a total of about $11.8 million, citing tax purposes, before buying another 810 of them two days later.

Matt Malley, chief market strategist for Miller Tabak + Co. Step down as CEO. This news means they don’t seem to want to do that anytime soon.”

Overall, MicroStrategy held about 132,500 bitcoins worth over $4 billion USD as of December 27th. The company paid an average purchase price of $30,397 per bitcoin.

“Given MicroStrategy’s $2.4 billion in leverage, we believe the company may have a lot of leverage over Bitcoin, and may face some liquidity risk,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thiel wrote in a note on Wednesday. Thill has an “underperform” rating on the stock and a price target of $110.

Over the years of the pandemic, MicroStrategy has become well known for its Bitcoin takeovers, largely led by Saylor. Earlier this year, Saylor stepped down from that role and now serves as CEO at the company and continues to lead its bitcoin strategy.

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MicroStrategy was trading around $120 before Saylor first announced the company’s Bitcoin purchases in 2020. The stock reached an all-time high of $1,315 in February 2021.

(Updates to include the stock’s closing price in the second paragraph.)

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Bankman-Fried May File Petition in New York Federal Court Next Week Before Judge Louis Kaplan By Cointelegraph

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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is set to appear in court on the afternoon of January 3 to enter a lawsuit over two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy against him related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, according to Reuters. mentioned on December 28, citing court records. Bankman-Fried will appear before District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

Judge Kaplan was appointed to hear the case on December 27 after the original judge in the case, Ronnie Abrams, Resigned herself because of connections between FTX and the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her husband is a partner. The company provided advisory services to FTX in 2021.