European Commissioner’s insight on the talks on EU’s multi-year €50 billion aid for Ukraine

European Commissioner for Budgetary Affairs Johannes Hahn said that a multi-year €50 billion support package for Ukraine can only be approved as part of a review of the EU’s entire medium-term budget.

The European Commissioner said to Euractiv that the EU states are seeking to reach agreement on the entire medium-term budget for 2024-2027, and an agreement “only on Ukraine is unacceptable.” Johannes Hahn also emphasized that “no one is denying the support for Ukraine.”

If Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and possibly Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, known for pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian rethoric, prevent an agreement on a package for Ukraine, a plan B could be considered, according to Johannes Hahn.

“One option is to have bilateral agreements with 26 member states (without Hungary – ed.), but it is a more cumbersome process”, Johannes Hahn said

As for agreeing on the entire revised medium-term budget of the EU, the main obstacle, according to the European Commissioner, is internal financial discussions in Germany, where they are trying to find a way to close the deficit of 60 billion euros.

“I hope there is a quickly growing understanding in Berlin that they have a particular responsibility as the biggest economy in the EU. So without their significant involvement and engagement, we will not agree,” he stated.

Hahn insisted that negotiations must finish as soon as possible, to give the European Parliament time to agree on the financial plan and approve the increases in the 2025 annual budget.

In June, the European Commission asked for approval of 66 billion euros in additional spending to cover unforeseen expenses, arguing that the budget had been depleted by several crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.

According to the European Commission’s plan, the bulk of the additional EU funding, in addition to the €50 billion support for Ukraine (€17 billion in grants plus €33 billion in off-budget low-interest loans), will go to pay interest rates on post-pandemic loans (€18.9 billion) and migration agreements with third countries (€15 billion).

The EU member states, however, want to decrease this amount by at least 20%, saying that the main burden of the increase in spending will fall on several contributing nations (those who disburse more to the EU budget than they obtain from it).

Read also: European Commissioner estimated when EU will deliver 1 million shells to Ukraine

The EU’s initial plan to provide €20 billion military aid to Ukraine over four years to pay for weapons and ammunition is at risk of falling through as some member states, including Germany, have been unable to agree on the terms, according to an EU diplomat, quoted by media.

Instead, the EU member states hope to at least agree on €5 billion for next year, with commitments for further support after that.

Ukraine needs military and financial aid as it fights the Russian invasion and the war continues. Weapons supply help the Ukrainian Armed Forces repel Russian invading troops and push them out from the occupied territories.

Read more in our article: Will EU states approve €20 military aid plan for Ukraine?

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