EU Approves $54B Ukraine Aid Package

Ukraine will be receiving the equivalent of $54 billion of aid from the European Union over the next few years, after leaders from the member countries unanimously approved a new aid package on Thursday.

The agreement, announced by Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, comes after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban decided not to block the package from being approved.

He initially had used the unilateral veto power that all 27 EU member states possess to block the deal. After many EU leaders continued to pressure him to lift that block, he finally did so.

On Thursday, Michel posted to the social media site X:

“We have a deal. Unity. All 27 leaders agreed on an additional 50-billion-euro support package for Ukraine within the EU budget.”

The package was originally proposed back in December, but Orban was opposed to it from the start. One thing that Orban didn’t like was the fact that the EU was approving such a large amount of money for Ukraine in one fell swoop. He wanted, instead, for that support to be up for a vote on an annual basis.

Other EU leaders countered that doing so would allow Orban to make demands every year in order to approve the funds. As part of the charter that established the EU, every member state is given absolute veto power over bills. This was put in place so that larger states such as Germany couldn’t just steamroll over smaller states such as Hungary.

Following the announcement of the deal on Thursday, Hungary didn’t make any public comments.

However, Reuters cited anonymous diplomats who said that the EU didn’t commit to releasing frozen funds to Hungary in exchange for Orban lifting his block on the budget. Brussels has frozen some EU funds that are meant for Hungary over concerns regarding the country’s rule of law as well as human rights.

The same diplomats said that EU leaders agreed to discuss the Ukrainian aid package yearly, and they could review the deal in two years “if needed.” That being said, member states wouldn’t be able to veto the deal at that time.

The EU joint budget will run through 2027. Ukrainian officials said they expected to receive the first tranche of aid from the package — which will total about 4.5 billion euros — next month.

Many EU leaders have been very wary of Orban’s intentions in recent months, specifically because he is known to have close ties to Russia. He’s been increasingly critical of the EU helping Ukraine in its war efforts by providing them with military and financial aid.

The passage of the EU budget was a huge win for Ukraine, which finds itself in desperate need of more foreign financial and military aid as it seeks to continue to fight off Russia.

The U.S. has yet to commit to allocating more aid to Ukraine as Congress wrangles with how to pass an omnibus spending package that satisfies the wants and needs of most members.