The European Union is in a panic a week before a key summit to discuss important decisions about Ukraine's future. The panic itself is associated with Viktor Orbán.

Politico writes about it.

Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán has such a firm stance on Ukraine — and more — that EU diplomats and officials are trying to figure out what or who might change his mind.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron, a man who is never ashamed of a diplomatic challenge, will try to change Putin's mind.

Macron is hosting Orban for dinner on Thursday night and will try to reach a compromise before a summit in Brussels next week. There, EU leaders intend to make a historic decision to bring Ukraine into the club of 27 countries and conclude a key budget deal that will throw €50 billion as a lifeline for Kyiv's war-torn economy.

"We don't have time for games right now. If we are in a situation where peace in Europe is threatened, then we must do everything possible every day and every hour to protect our people, and even more so the people of Ukraine," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

However, Orbán threatens to derail the summit by making it clear in two letters to European Council President Charles Michel that he opposes accession talks with Kyiv and instead wants to hold a strategic discussion about the bloc's support for Ukraine.

While Orbán has previously held the bloc hostage, three senior EU diplomats acknowledged that this time is different — the stakes are high, time is sensitive, and Hungary's protest goes beyond simply wanting more EU cash.

Michel, whose task is to reach compromises between the leaders, has already traveled to Budapest to discuss with Orban, and is also shortening his trip to Beijing for the EU-China summit to continue the search for a compromise.

"We've reached a point where thinking Orbán is just asking for more money is an 'optimistic' view," said a senior EU diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels earlier this week, Hungary's Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations, Zoltán Kovács, strongly rejected the idea that Orbán was taking such a stance to force the European Council to unlock billions in EU cash that remain blocked due to legal issues from Budapest.

"Our position on Ukraine, our position on the revision of the MFF [EU long-term budget] and many other issues will remain regardless of what is happening with the funds," Kovac said.

Diplomats disagree on whether the Hungarian leader is determined to disrupt support for Ukraine or whether he is "just" trying to blackmail Brussels. While some diplomats and EU officials are already planning workarounds or trying to counter the negative press that will follow next week's failed European Council meeting, others remain optimistic that they will find a way out. Macron belongs to the latter group.

Recall that Orbán's party submitted to parliament a resolution against negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.