BRUSSELS: European Union (EU) leaders unanimously agreed on Thursday to extend 50 billion euros ($54bn) in aid to Ukraine, overcoming weeks of resistance by Hungary.

Leaders from Western countries have reacted over the aid announcement for the Ukraine.

European Council President Charles Michel said, “We have a deal. All 27 leaders agreed on an additional 50bn support package for Ukraine within the EU budget. This locks in steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for Ukraine. The EU is taking leadership and responsibility in support for Ukra­ine; we know what is at stake.”

Reacting on the EU aid announcement, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “Grateful to Charles Michel and EU leaders for establishing the 50bn Ukraine Facility for 2024-2027. It is very important that the decision was made by all 27 leaders, which once again proves strong EU unity.

“Continued EU financial support for Ukraine will strengthen long-term economic and financial stability, which is no less important than military assistance and sanctions pressure on Russia.”

Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that “We received an offer, and negotiated a control mechanism that guarantees the reasonable use of funds and we also received guarantees that Hungary’s money (that the commission has not yet released) cannot go to Ukraine. After a lengthy negotiation we accepted this offer.”

In addition, EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen said, “Agreement! The European Council delivered on our priorities. Supporting Ukraine. Fighting illegal migration. Supporting European competitiveness. A good day for Europe.”

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola “Once again, Europe has delivered. 50bn to help Ukraine recover, reconstruct and reform, on the country’s path to EU membership,” adding that “We owe this to the people of Ukraine. We owe it too to the people of Europe. Because Ukraine’s security is Europe’s security”

While Ukrainian foreign minister said, “This is a step of historic proportions. It demonstrates that any talk about alleged ‘fatigue’ or ‘waning support’ is simply false. “Europe has once again demonstrated its strength and ability to make major decisions independent of others. The EU is leading the way and setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, “This 50bn euro package will help us achieve more structure, transparency and predictability in our financial aid to Ukraine. Our message to president (Zelensky) and the Ukrainian people is clear: Ukraine can count on our support, both now and in the future.” Belgian prime minister said, “The EU keeps its promise to Ukraine. The people of Ukraine and President (Zelensky) are fighting for the freedom of all Euro­peans. Once again we reaffirm the unity of the 27 member states.”

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2024

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