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European Union: Viktor Orban stops 50 billion euros to Ukraine

When the EU’s 27 heads of state and government have to decide on funds, it takes a long time. Friday night was no exception. At approximately 02:30, the summit broke up, without the countries being able to reach an agreement.

On the table was a proposal from the European Commission that Ukraine’s budget should be supported by 50 billion euros (about 560 billion kroner) in the form of loans and grants. The funds must cover a period of four years and are needed to pay pensions, salaries of government employees, etc. Otherwise, Ukraine will go bankrupt.

Only one country This arrangement is opposed by Hungary.

Unlike what happened in the membership issue that was decided on Thursday evening, Viktor Orban has not given up this fight.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited a US military base in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Thursday.

Photo: Press Service of the Office of the President of Ukraine / AFP

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson estimates there is little possibility that Orban will change his mind when the summit continues on Friday. This issue is likely to be raised again at an additional summit in January.

The goal is that when we meet at the beginning of next year, everyone should be able to get behind the agreement. If this turns out to be impossible, 26 countries have expressed their joint will to provide long-term support to Ukraine, says Ulf Kristersson at a night press conference.

Subsidies will then no longer be channeled through the EU budget. Instead, it will be a form of multilateral agreement between countries, which is considered less effective.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is on his way to an EU summit and negotiations over funds for Ukraine.

Photograph: John Theis/AFP

How did Viktor Orban explain that he did not want to approve the fifty billion dollars?

– It was clear that he did not want to spend new money on supporting Ukraine. Above all, money is not common. It was clear, but not more detailed than that, says Ulf Kristersson.

He says the first day of the EU summit came with a great message for Ukraine – the ability to start negotiations on membership – and a bad message, namely money.

For Ukraine, this is the second economic setback this week.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Joe Biden at a joint press conference on Tuesday.

Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited President Joe Biden in Washington on Tuesday. There, Republicans in Congress are blocking a $60 billion (615 billion kroner) support package for Ukraine.

During Zelensky’s visit, there were no new reports that Biden’s political opponents had changed their minds. They want to continue to prioritize internal areas, such as strengthening the country’s southern border.

Read more:

Ukraine may begin negotiations on EU membership, but Orban stayed away when the decision was made

Pia Gripenberg: Everyone is against Orban when EU leaders meet on Ukraine

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