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EU leaders face a brand new showdown with Hungary as they search to unblock financial assist to Ukraine

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BRUSSELS — European Union leaders are gathering on Thursday to shore up monetary help for Ukraine. The overwhelming majority of them — from 26 international locations — agree that Europe’s safety is at stake, and that point is of the essence. Just one, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, stands of their approach.

Nearly two years since Russia invaded, the conflict has floor to a halt and Ukraine’s war-ravaged financial system desperately wants propping up. However political infighting within the EU and in the US is depriving Kyiv of a long-term supply of funding. Greater than $100 billion is being held up.

In December, the 26 different leaders agreed on a package deal price 50 billion euros ($54 billion) for this yr by means of 2027. Additionally they agreed to make Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, which Orban reluctantly accepted.

“Securing settlement is important for our credibility, and never least for our dedication to supply steadfast help to Ukraine,” European Council President Charles Michel, who’s chairing the summit, mentioned in his invitation letter to the leaders.

However the monetary package deal is a part of a evaluate of the EU’s persevering with seven-year price range, which should be accredited unanimously.

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Orban, the EU chief with the closest ties to Russia, is offended on the European Fee’s determination to freeze his authorities’s entry to a number of the bloc’s funds. The manager department did so over considerations about attainable threats to the EU price range posed by democratic backsliding in Hungary.

In response, Hungary vetoed statements on the EU on a spread of points. Orban’s additionally exported the issue to NATO, by blocking excessive stage conferences with Ukraine till solely just lately. Budapest can be holding up Sweden’s bid for membership within the navy group.

“I don’t wish to use the phrase blackmail, however I don’t know what different higher phrase” would possibly match, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas advised reporters as she arrived at EU headquarters in Brussels for the assembly.

“Hungary wants Europe,” she mentioned, highlighting the nation’s personal financial issues and excessive rates of interest. “He must also look into what it’s in it for Hungary, being in Europe.”

Orban didn’t communicate to reporters as he entered the assembly.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned that “we wish to end what we began in December” and careworn that the deliberate 50 billion euros for Ukraine is “urgently needed.”

“I’ll make quite a lot of effort, along with many others, to decide by 27 (member states) attainable,” Scholz mentioned.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to handle the leaders through video hyperlink.

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Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.



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