EU solidarity fund: Ursula Von Der Leyen is pulling out all the stops to make sure that Ukraine continues to remain in battle with Russia. If one remembers, back in April, the European Union had started preparations for a solidarity trust fund for Ukraine.
The goal of the EU solidarity fund was to assist Ukraine with its financial requirements as well as its restoration efforts. The G7 nations overwhelmingly supported the idea, but several member states of the EU were enraged by it.
Though, that the plan is still in place, one member state has publicly rejected the EU’s new initiative to assist Ukraine, while a second is entering hot waters. The desire of Ukraine to continue surviving at the behest of the EU may run into a fresh blockade.
According to media reports, Hungary has announced that Budapest won’t back European Union efforts to aid Ukraine with jointly raised funds. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has announced as the EU continues to stay at loggerheads with Hungary.
According to Szijjarto, Hungary has done enough in supporting Kyiv on a bilateral basis and will continue to do so. But, Budapest opposes any arrangements involving co-financing with other EU member states.
Reportedly, the EU had proposed a new €18 billion ($18 billion) aid package for Ukraine for 2023. The plan was poised to use the EU’s budget as a guarantee to raise the funds for Kyiv, a step that involves changes to the bloc’s rules that require the unanimous backing of its 27 member states.
However, Hungary has singlehandedly crushed the EU’s ambition.
No money for Zelensky
On the question of why Hungary is against helping Ukraine with a joint EU solidarity fund, Peter Szijjártó said, “We have done it once. We supported joint borrowing during the coronavirus epidemic, and that was more than enough,”
Hungary had previously supported the EU’s decision to jointly raise debt to finance the bloc’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but has yet to receive its share of the funds. This is why Hungary is pessimistic about falling into the EU’s trap again.
Even though Hungary has always opposed EU involvement in the war in Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban are regarded as close friends, Hungary has eventually opted to help Ukraine on several occasions.
But without the backing of Hungary, the proposed €18 billion ($18 billion) aid package for Ukraine would fail to take shape.
Italy might back off
Additionally, it appears that even Italy might reject the EU’s new proposal to assist Ukraine, as Italians are protesting against aiding Ukraine.
Last week, tens of thousands of Italians marched through Rome, demanding an end to arms shipments to Ukraine and a ceasefire. Furthermore, Italy’s new PM, Giorgia Meloni, is also expected to succumb to this rising pressure, as her own conservative allies are against helping Ukraine.
She has definitely chastised Russian aggression in Ukraine, but has she always been Anti-Russia? Absolutely not. Meloni was one of the few Italian politicians to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election in 2018.
Furthermore, she has openly lambasted Ursula Von Der Leyen and the EU for their failure to curb illegal migration. One could easily understand that she is emphasizing a more pragmatic approach toward the EU.
Now, given the rising anti-Ukraine attitude in Italy, Meloni would get a perfect excuse to move away from Brussels’ collective effort in Ukraine.
The denial of Rome and Budapest could only be the beginning. Structuring an $18 billion fund would be an extremely difficult task for members’ states’ own inner strife with Brussels.
Zelensky wanted the European Union to cough up $5 billion every month, and this new EU solidarity fund was exactly the start of it. However, with Hungary’s denial and Italy’s shifting momentum, Zelensky’s dream to keep Ukraine afloat is again up against the wall.