War in Ukraine: EU approves aid of 50 billion euros to support kyiv

It is a “very strong message to [Vladimir] Putin, just before the second anniversary of his brutal invasion” of Ukraine, said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, after a extraordinary EU summit in Brussels, Thursday 1 February

War in Ukraine: EU approves aid of 50 billion euros to support kyiv

It is a “very strong message to [Vladimir] Putin, just before the second anniversary of his brutal invasion” of Ukraine, said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, after a extraordinary EU summit in Brussels, Thursday 1 February.

The twenty-seven heads of state and government of the European Union reached an agreement on Thursday on the payment of new financial aid to Ukraine of 50 billion euros until 2027, at the end of a standoff lasting several weeks with the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. kyiv desperately needs help to keep its economy afloat, while a US aid package is blocked in Congress.

This European aid, which includes 33 billion in loans and 17 billion in grants, is included in an extension to the EU budget until 2027. This revised European budget will be voted on later this month in the European Parliament. Alongside this budgetary issue, the summit must also discuss additional military aid of 5 billion euros proposed by Brussels. However, no decision is expected on Thursday on this point.

“We have an agreement. Unity”, announced on X the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. “This agreement guarantees stable, predictable and long-term financing for Ukraine,” he added.

Guarantees obtained by Hungary

Last December, Viktor Orban, close to Moscow, vetoed this new aid program for Ukraine. He was accused in Brussels of blackmailing the EU to obtain the release of European funds intended for his country but frozen by the European Commission due to the breaches of the rule of law accused of Budapest.

The summit was preceded by a meeting around the Hungarian nationalist leader bringing together the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the head of the Italian government, Giorgia Meloni, as well as Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, to find a compromise with him

The compromise reached provides for the preparation each year of a report by the European Commission on the use of funds by Ukraine, and the possibility for the leaders in two years, if necessary and unanimously, to request a review of the 'help. Hungary demanded to be able to carry out an annual review of this support, but the other EU countries did not want to give it such repeated opportunities to veto. He justified his change of heart by having received “guarantees”. " We had an argument ! Hungarians’ money cannot be given to Ukrainians! We will not take part in war, we will not send weapons, we continue to [take] the side of peace,” he said in a Facebook video.

Satisfaction of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky welcomed the agreement as proof, in his eyes, of “the strong unity of the EU”. “Continued financial support from the European Union will strengthen Ukraine's financial and economic stability in the long term, which is no less important than military assistance and sanctions against Russia,” he said. he says about X.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Economy specified that the first tranche of this new envelope – 4.5 billion euros – would be paid in March. In total, 39 billion euros will be allocated to the Ukrainian budget. Since the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, 2022, kyiv has received some 68 billion euros in international aid, including almost 26 billion euros from the European Union.

The meeting of the Twenty-Seven is being held against a backdrop of strong mobilization from the agricultural world: some 1,200 tractors have invaded the streets of Brussels in a concert of horns. Protesters faced police in front of the European Parliament, where tires were set on fire and a statue toppled, near the venue of the leaders' meeting.