Days after Russia’s conflict started, the EU established a €500 million fund to encourage nations to arm Kyiv and in return, European Union would cover the cost.
The so-called “clearance house” of the EPF, which is managing the process, received around €600 million in requests for the initial € 500 million tranche. According to estimates given by three diplomats, after examining the invoices it received, Brussels came to the conclusion that it could pay for around 85% of the expenses.
Then the EU approved a pot that was significantly larger and finally reached €1.5 billion. The flood of receipts began at that point. However, the €1.5 billion pot saw demands totalling roughly €3.3 billion, with Poland accounting for more than half of the payments. The calculations reveal that because the EU received so many requests, it determined that Brussels could cover roughly around 46% of the demands.
According to the diplomats, Poland, one of the EU’s main arms suppliers to Ukraine and a top claimant for reimbursement after submitting €1.8 billion in receipts, was outraged by the declining proportion. In an effort to negotiate a better rate, Warsaw delayed the final agreement on the distribution of the second tranche of money for days.
Poland claims it has not yet received replacement tanks from Germany, which Berlin promised Warsaw, in exchange for the military help given to Ukraine. Poland has so far sent Ukraine a sizable quantity of tanks, howitzers, anti-aircraft weapons, and other military equipment.
“For them, below 50 per cent is just too little,” one diplomat noted.
Diplomats said that in the end, Warsaw gave up and accepted the 46 per cent number on Wednesday. The decision was made as resentment among other members, who perceived Poland as standing in the way of significant EU funds, grew.
Tragedy for Ukraine
The diminishing repayment system, however, poses a threat to the EU’s standing as a trustworthy military ally. Especially, at a time when Ukraine is pleading with Europe for more weaponry to support a counteroffensive and ward off further Russian bombardments. EU heavyweights France and Germany are already coming under fire for their inadequate donations, while several smaller nations claim they are running low on supplies.
Olaf Scholz’s chief of staff Wolfgang Schmidt criticized Biden’s administration for pushing Germany way too much. He said, “We are getting into a situation that Americans have known for decades: people want us to lead.”
If the refunds aren’t made by the EU for the whole amount, it’d discourage the countries to send any more weapons to Ukraine. At the end of the day, Ukraine will be left to fend for itself.
Western weapons have made it possible for Ukraine to sustain itself till now against Russia. But, this won’t go on forever. Europe is on its knees as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. The war has a terrible effect on the allies of Washington and Kyiv in the continent.
Since the beginning of the invasion, economic superpowers like Germany have been suffering as a result of the disruption of Russian oil supplies. Europe as a whole is struggling in a variety of industries.
If Europe stops aiding Ukraine, Zelensky and his administration would have to come to negotiating table with Russia. It looks increasingly clear that EU doesn’t want to finance the war for Ukraine and realises the damage it has caused to the continent. The indication is quite clear on EU’s part that it no more wants the Ukraine war. So, we’d be seeing the war coming to an end anytime soon.