EU Will Not Be Distracted from Helping Ukraine – European Commission President

Wednesday, 18 October 2023

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, has stated that the conflict in the Middle East will not affect the EU's commitment to help Ukraine during Russia's war of aggression.

Von der Leyen said after a virtual EU summit on the situation in the Middle East that it is crucial that a large amount of aid for Kyiv is currently being prepared. She noted that Ukraine is fighting for European values, so the EU will stand by its side for as long as it takes.

"Some believe that they can distract us from supporting Ukraine and that we have to choose whom to support. We will prove them wrong. We stand by our friends in the time of need for as long as it takes," she said.

The European Parliament supported the European Commission's initiative to create a €50 billion fund to help Ukraine during a vote on Tuesday, 17 October.

The €50 billion programme for Ukraine is part of the revision of the EU's long-term budget due to a series of crisis events that occurred after 2021.

European lawmakers believe this tool should be approved as soon as possible, as part of the general budget review, so that there is a clear funding source to support Ukraine at the end of the current calendar year. It should be included in the EU's 2024 annual budget, which will be negotiated in November.

Media reports suggest that Hungary wants to divide this support package for Ukraine and proposes to initially agree on only €25 billion.

The Ukraine Facility is intended to replace the EU's bilateral support under the Global Europe Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the €18 billion MFA+ programme, which expires at the end of 2023.

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