Von der Leyen confident all EU states will agree on aid package to Ukraine

Brussels: The European Union’s chief executive voiced confidence on Wednesday that all 27 member states will agree to jointly extend more financial aid to Ukraine.

Hungary has resisted agreement on an aid package, raising the possibility of the other 26 countries giving funds to Ukraine under separate bilateral deals with Kyiv.

But Ursula von der Leyen, who heads the executive European Commission, told EU lawmakers: “I am confident that we will find a solution by 27.”

EU leaders last month agreed to start accession talks with Ukraine but Hungary vetoed granting 50 billion euros($54 bln) in aid for Kyiv through 2027.

The bloc’s 27 national leaders will meet again in Brussels on Feb.1 to try to agree on providing more financial assistance to Kyiv, which relies heavily on Western support to defend itself against Russian forces who invaded almost two years ago.

The European Commission proposed extending the support through a review of the EU’s shared budget, which would also provide more financing for migration and other priorities.

But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has refused to channel the aid through the joint budget run by the Commission, leaving the other 26 countries considering proceeding without Budapest.

The prospect of 26 countries giving aid to Ukraine under separate bilateral deals with Kyiv is one alternative that is under discussion. That is seen as more complicated and expensive than going via the EU budget, as well as damaging the bloc’s unity.