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Orban agrees to grant Ukraine €50bn not during summit: what happened behind scenes

1 February, 2024 Thursday
19:30

Espreso correspondent Tetiana Vysotska explains how EU leaders managed to convince Orban to grant Ukraine EUR 50 billion

She said this on Espreso TV.

"The EU will provide Ukraine with EUR 50 billion over the next four years. We finally managed to convince Orban, and it happened in an interesting way. Orban gave his consent not during a meeting of the EU leaders' summit, but during an informal meeting. How did it happen? Yesterday Orban arrived in Brussels in the evening and was invited to dinner by Charles Michel. Other EU leaders are supposed to be present at that dinner. Apparently, it was during the dinner that they were going to have a conversation with Orban, but Orban did not come to the dinner. Instead, he went to the farmers, where he once again said that the EU was doing the wrong thing by supporting Ukrainian farmers rather than European ones," Vysotska said.

According to the Espreso correspondent, it was not clear what Orban was going to do until this morning.

"In the morning, journalists were waiting for him at a press conference, but Orban did not come out to the press. So the intrigue continued. Later, it turned out that Orban immediately went to a closed meeting with the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the leaders of France, Germany, and Italy. The summit of EU leaders began in such a narrow circle. During this conversation, something was promised to Orban, that he agreed to approve EUR 50 billion for Ukraine. Later, the leaders of Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, and the Baltic states joined the meeting, so the closed meeting was expanding. At some point, Orban said yes. Then everyone moved to the big hall, where all 27 EU leaders approved EUR 50 billion," Vysotska added.

  • All 27 EU member states have agreed to provide Ukraine with EUR 50 billion in aid. Kyiv expects to receive the first tranche of this package in March.

EUR 50 billion for Ukraine: what is known

On December 15, 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the EU's decision on the EUR 50 billion budget assistance program for Ukraine.

On December 18, it became known that a special summit of the European Commission to discuss the allocation of EUar 50 billion for 4 years to Ukraine would be held on February 1, 2024.

On January 10, despite Hungary's opposition, Brussels voted to begin negotiations with the European Parliament on providing Ukraine with EUR 50 billion in macro-financial assistance over the next four years.

On January 16, Orban called for separating financial aid to Ukraine from the EU budget.

On January 17, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed confidence that all EU member states would agree to provide assistance to Ukraine, and on January 26, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that all 27 EU member states had agreed to provide EUR 50 billion to Ukraine.

On January 30, Orban said that he was ready to support the provision of assistance to Ukraine from the EU budget, provided that every year the EU would decide "whether to continue to send this money or not.”

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