EU leaders have failed to agree on a €1 billion aid package for Ukraine, outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said. After hours of negotiations at the European Union summit in Brussels, Hungary is still obstructing the matter.
Government leaders will continue to discuss support for Ukraine in January. Rutte believes they will “work it out after that.”
The EU summit got off to a strong start, reaching an unexpected agreement on opening accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. This appeared to be the biggest challenge in advance, because Hungary appeared to be planning to prevent it.
But Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reserved real resistance until negotiations on increasing the EU budget. The other 26 EU countries want to allocate another 17 billion euros in grants and 33 billion euros in favorable loans to Ukraine over the next four years.
EU diplomats say agreements for the 26 member states are being determined in principle when they meet again in January to persuade Hungary to join. They do not want to question again the settlement reached, so as not to have to completely repeat the negotiations again.
Rutte expects Orban to agree in January
Rutte cannot explain exactly why Orban agreed. “It’s an estimate. And that estimate is that you need more time.” EU sources point out that the Hungarian Prime Minister could not in good conscience fail twice in one night. It may be more absorbed within a month.
It is still unclear when the new summit will be held in January. “But we have some time,” Rutte says. “It’s not that Ukraine will run out of money right away.”
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