Aid to Ukraine: EU negotiators reach agreement

Negotiators from the European Parliament and the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union reached a political agreement on Monday evening (5 February) on the €50 billion aid program for Ukraine .

The deal comes just five days after Hungary lifted its veto on the aid under pressure from other EU leaders.

Budapest obtained a minor concession that helped unblock the deal at the extraordinary EU summit last Thursday (February 1): annual reports and debates will be held on how the money will be used.

The final agreement, however, does not contain the initial request from Hungary, which had wanted to include the possibility for member states to be able to veto aid each year.

The Belgian Presidency of the Council had already started informal negotiations on a draft text for the aid package for Ukraine based on a “partial mandate” of negotiation agreed by EU ambassadors in early January, before the Prime Hungarian Minister Viktor Orbán does not give the green light to the package.

This is a partial mandate because the amounts and terms must be approved by EU leaders.

Of the 50 billion euros in the facility for Ukraine, 33 billion will come from loans and 17 billion from grants.

The grants will be mobilized through a new special instrument, proposed as part of the mid-term review of the EU’s seven-year budget (multiannual financial framework, MFF).

The loans will be ensured by own resources, like the current financing granted under the “macrofinancial assistance +” (AMF+) instrument.

“The EU is ready to support Ukraine for as long as necessary,” Belgian Finance Minister Vincent van Peteghem said after the announcement. “The Ukraine Facility will allow us to deliver consistent and predictable support to Ukraine to help its people rebuild their country in the face of unprecedented challenges brought on by Russia’s war of aggression. »

“At the same time, this support will help Ukraine advance the reforms and modernization efforts needed to move forward on the path to future EU membership,” he added.

As it did with Member States for the recovery plans of the post-Covid NextGenEU recovery instrument, the European Commission will negotiate with Kiev a “plan for Ukraine” which will link the payment of funds to projects of reform.

In order to evaluate the implementation of this plan, the Commission will have a “dashboard which will make it possible to easily monitor the evolution of the different qualitative and quantitative stages, including an overview of the social, economic and environmental aspects of the Ukrainian plan,” we can read in the approved text.

“The financial instrument is now ready to be adopted by the Council and Parliament in order to start channeling money to Ukraine as quickly as possible,” said a source familiar with the negotiations.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council are expected to meet again on Tuesday (6 January) evening to continue negotiations on the MFF review.

Discussions around the MFF include the 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine, but also additional funds for border protection and a new subsidy fund for EU industry, the EU Industry Platform Strategic Technologies for Europe (STEP).

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