EU Fails to Agree on Financial Aid for Ukraine
EU Opens Accession Negotiations
The European Union has failed to reach an agreement on a 50 billion-euro ($54 billion) financial aid package for Ukraine, while simultaneously deciding to open accession negotiations with the war-torn country. The aid package was vetoed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, dealing a blow to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This comes after Zelenskyy’s failed attempts to secure an additional $61 billion from U.S. lawmakers for Ukraine’s defense. However, the start of accession talks marks a significant moment for Ukraine, which has long faced opposition from Orban.
Unanimity Among EU Members
The 50 billion-euro financial aid package, along with a review of the EU budget, required unanimous agreement among all 27 member countries. Despite this, European Council President Charles Michel expressed optimism about the start of accession talks, calling it “a clear signal of hope for their people and our continent.” Although the process of Ukraine becoming a member will take time, Zelenskyy sees this as a victory for his country and for Europe as a whole.
Orban’s Opposition and Hungary’s Perspective
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban remained steadfast in his opposition to Ukraine’s EU membership, citing concerns about Ukraine’s readiness. However, he ultimately decided not to use his veto, as the other 26 nations were strongly in favor of Ukraine’s accession talks. While some praised Orban’s gesture, others believed that he realized using the veto would have been indefensible. Nonetheless, the decision to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and neighboring Moldova has been seen as a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Optimism and Unexpected Announcement
The news of the start of accession talks was met with cautious optimism in Kyiv. Ukrainian residents expressed their desire for Ukraine to be recognized as a proud member of Europe. The announcement came unexpectedly during the summit, as EU leaders had anticipated the talks to last until late Friday. The decision was seen as a historic moment and a demonstration of the European Union’s strength and credibility. Negotiations will begin before a report is made to the leaders in March.
The Urgency and EU’s Credibility
For Ukraine, the need for financial aid is urgent, especially as the country is still recovering from the ongoing war. President Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of Europe being seen as trustworthy and capable of making decisions. The failure to agree on the financial aid package not only affects Ukraine’s economy but also poses a potential blow to the EU’s credibility.
Read More of this Story at apnews.com – 2023-12-15 03:00:00
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