Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Hungary did not approve an EU financial aid package for Ukraine on Friday. Despite this, EU leaders agreed to officially open accession negotiations for Ukraine to join the bloc. The financial support package, totaling 50 billion euros, was backed by 26 of the 27 EU member countries. President Viktor Orban of Hungary was the only leader who did not agree to the package. He believes that the aid should only be extended after Europe-wide elections planned for the summer. The EU’s announcement on Thursday was symbolic and an important breakthrough for Ukraine. Despite a small delay in the approval of the financial package, the EU already has funding set aside in its current budget for Ukraine.

In addition, Ukraine will need to undergo major reforms in order to align itself with EU rules and standards. The EU also approved accession talks for Moldova, which is situated to the south of Ukraine. The leadership of Ukraine is motivated to join the EU and has been following EU requests for reforms. Despite Hungary’s objection, the EU can create a trust with the other 26 member countries if necessary to avoid delays. Despite powerful lobbying from minorities, pressure is increasing in the United States and the European Union to provide more support to Ukraine.

Kyiv residents were pleased with the announcement of accession talks that evening. Many see integration into the EU as their only chance for continued support against Russia’s aggression.

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