EU leaders strive to secure Ukraine funding amid Hungarian opposition

European Union leaders will attempt on Thursday to persuade Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to support a funding initiative for Ukraine, indicating readiness to proceed without Hungary if necessary.

Publication: 01.02.2024 - 11:13
EU leaders strive to secure Ukraine funding amid Hungarian opposition
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The proposal aims to allocate 33 billion euros in loans and 17 billion euros in grants from the EU budget for Ukraine's needs from 2024 to 2027, ensuring more reliable funding as the country resists Russia's invasion.

To date, the EU's assistance to Ukraine, initiated after Russia's 2022 invasion, has relied on intergovernmental agreements requiring annual national approvals. These agreements are more cumbersome and expensive than EU budget financing, which promises more stable four-year support. However, this stability is crucial, especially as financial aid from the United States, another significant contributor, faces uncertainty due to political disputes in the U.S. Congress.

For funding through the EU budget, unanimous approval from all 27 member states is required. Hungary, maintaining close relations with Moscow, seeks annual veto power over disbursements, a demand rejected by the other 26 EU nations. This disagreement has led to a deadlock since December. Thursday's summit represents the final chance to reach a consensus before potentially reverting to the previous, less efficient funding mechanism.

With Ukraine expected to face a cash shortfall for basic state functions by March, the EU is under pressure to find a solution. Leaders propose an annual review of EU aid expenditure in Ukraine to partially meet Orban's requests but without granting Hungary veto rights, according to a draft proposal. The document suggests the European Council will annually discuss the aid's implementation to guide the EU's stance on Russia's aggression against Ukraine. It remains uncertain whether Orban will accept this compromise, as his EU ambassador reiterated Hungary's demand for veto authority at a preparatory meeting on Wednesday.

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