€50 Billion Aid Package Approved for Ukraine Amidst Resistance from Hungary's Viktor Orbán

€50 Billion Aid Package Approved for Ukraine Amidst Resistance from Hungary's Viktor Orbán

EU, Ukraine, financial aid, Viktor Orbán, European Union, Hungary, funding package, leaders’ summit, EU member states, financial stability, military assistance, sanctions on Russia

In an unprecedented display of unity and resolve, the European Union (EU) has approved a substantial financial aid package for Ukraine, amounting to €50 billion. This significant decision was reached after Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary who had previously vowed to obstruct the aid, eventually conceded following a series of intensive last-minute negotiations.

European Prime Ministers have attributed this turnaround to the strong and unified stance held by the member states of the EU. Orbán's resistance, which had persisted for over six weeks, came to an abrupt end during a leaders' summit, marking one of the quickest about-turns observed at such a meeting. His relenting was met with both relief that the deal had finally been settled and anger at the need for two consecutive meetings in Brussels within the span of two months, brought about by his initial refusal to support the aid package in December.

Highlighting the EU's unwavering unity, Petteri Orpo, the Prime Minister of Finland, declared, "Nobody can blackmail 26 countries of the EU. Our values were not for sale." This sentiment was echoed by Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister of Poland, who sent a stern warning to Orbán and others seeking to exploit the situation through unsavory compromises.

As support for Ukraine's war efforts seems to waver in Washington, European leaders have emphasized the importance of this financial aid. The funds will bolster Ukraine's public services, including salaries for teachers, doctors, and soldiers, for the next four years. French President Emmanuel Macron asserted that Europe's support was "united and unanimous," and Russia should not expect to exploit any perceived weakness in Europe's backing of Ukraine.

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, hailed this resolution as one of "historic proportions," demonstrating to Russian President Vladimir Putin that any talk of "fatigue" or diminished support was entirely unfounded.

Orbán capitulated to the mounting pressure following a series of crucial meetings with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and the Presidents of the European Commission and Council, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel. A senior source remarked, "I think he was not seeing any more options. He cashed in."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy lauded this decision as further evidence of the EU's strong unity. He emphasized that the continued financial support from the EU would catalyze long-term economic and financial stability for Ukraine, which is as crucial as military assistance and the imposition of sanctions on Russia.

Orbán's resistance finally collapsed on Thursday morning, during a pre-summit meeting with several leaders. It was made clear to him that he had no support and was entirely isolated, leading to a deal by 11.30 am, following the addition of two new paragraphs to an official communique on the agreement.

The deal, as announced by Charles Michel on Twitter, locks in steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for Ukraine. Orbán maintained that he had achieved a diplomatic victory by ensuring that funds initially intended for Hungary, but frozen by the EU due to rule of law concerns, would not be redirected to Ukraine.

European leaders expressed their annoyance with Orbán on their way to the summit. Some even contemplated leaving early, exasperated at being summoned to Brussels only to have Orbán yield to pressure in the end. The summit also had the Middle East and additional military funds for Ukraine on the agenda.

News Agencies

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