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, and Rutte believes “we will reach an agreement after that.”
The EU summit got off to a strong start with an unexpected agreement on opening accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. This was considered the most damaging in advance, because Hungary seemed determined 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 the agreements reached by the 26 countries have been set in principle when they meet again in January to persuade Hungary to join. They do not want to discuss the settlement reached again so that they do not have to re-negotiate again.
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 in one 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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