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Ambassador names alternatives to EU funding Ukraine if Hungary blocks aid

by Martin Fornusek January 18, 2024 11:03 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian ambassador to the EU Vsevolod Chentsov signs a contract prior to a bilateral meeting in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter on Sept. 5, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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The proposed 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in four-year EU funding is the cheapest and most convenient way to back Ukraine, but there are alternatives if Budapest continues to block it, Ukrainian Ambassador to the EU Vsevolod Chentsov told Forbes Ukraine in an interview published on Jan. 18.

Budapest blocked the funding under the Ukraine Facility during the European Council summit in December 2023. EU leaders are to reconvene on the issue on Feb. 1, with Brussels signaling that a deal might be reached even without Hungary's approval.

According to Chentsov, the backup options include an extrabudgetary fund to which all EU members can make their contributions.

Other ways include the EU Commission lending aid under its guarantee or macro-financial assistance through period loans from the Commission, the ambassador said.

Chentsov believes that the initially proposed $54-billion Ukraine Facility will be adopted, but he added that periodic reviews might be included as safeguards.

Last week, the Financial Times reported that EU members are preparing to make concessions to secure Hungary's consent. The report came only days after Politico wrote that Budapest might be willing to withdraw its veto if the funding were subject to annual renewal.

In spite of this, Hungarian Minister of the Prime Minister's Office Gergely Gulyas said on Jan. 17 that the views of Budapest and Brussels on the aid remain far apart, making the agreement uncertain.

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