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EU to discuss $55 billion for Ukraine on Feb. 1

by Martin Fornusek December 18, 2023 7:14 PM 2 min read
European Council President Charles Michel delivers remarks to journalists in the European Council atrium ahead of an EU leaders' dinner at the European headquarters in Brussels on Dec. 14, 2023. (John Thys/AFP via Getty Images)
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The European Council will hold a special summit on Feb. 1, where the EU leaders will discuss the four-year 50-billion-euro ($55 billion) funding package for Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel said on Dec. 18.

During a recent summit, the EU failed to reach a consensus on the bloc's long-term budget, which includes funds for Ukraine, due to opposition by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Orban is broadly considered to be close to Moscow and has repeatedly obstructed aid for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

"Focus on the future of our Union with our special EUCO (European Council summit) on the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) taking place on Feb. 1, our European strategic agenda, and our EUCOs in March and April," Michel wrote on the social media platform X.

At the end of the Dec. 14-15 summit, which ended in an agreement on accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, EU leaders said that a new meeting would be held in early 2024 to re-address the budget issue.

European Commission President von der Leyen said the EU's executive arm would have an "operational solution" to the matter ready by the next summit.

She stressed that 26 of the 27 members supported the funding for Ukraine.

While EU leaders said they would prefer to reach a unanimous decision, von der Leyen noted that alternative options are also considered in case Hungary continues to block the plan.

"It is also necessary to work on potential alternatives to have an operation solution... if unanimity is not possible," von der Leyen noted.

French President Emmanuel Macron also voiced confidence that the bloc's remaining members would be able to financially support Ukraine even without Orban's approval.

Hungary blocks 50-billion-euro EU aid for Ukraine
Hungary has obstructed the European Union’s endorsement of a financial assistance package for Ukraine consisting of 50 billion euros ($55 billion), following EU leaders’ formal approval to commence accession negotiations with Ukraine, marking a significant milestone for Kyiv in its efforts to streng…
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