The European Union (EU) has passed an aid bill for Ukraine after Hungary dropped its opposition. The bill will give Ukraine $54 billion dollars to add to its budget for the next 3 years. The intention is to ensure Ukraine’s economy can stay afloat and provide essential services such as healthcare and pensions.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola was pleased with the unanimous vote of 27 member nations. “Ukraine is our priority and this agreement will give the credibility, legitimacy and the predictability that is expected from us,” she said. “Because Ukraine’s security is Europe’s security.” This passage was failed previously when Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban vetoed funding for Ukraine in December.
During the hold-up of Ukraine funding, Prime Ministers across Europe expressed their frustration. Donald Tusk who is Poland’s Prime Minister stated that “Europe doesn’t have Ukraine fatigue, it has Viktor Orban fatigue”. Others such as Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that “it shouldn’t be like this. I don’t want to use the word blackmail, but I don’t know another better word.”
Now that the holdup is gone the EU is celebrating the passage of aid that Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelensky has been asking for since December. They have also turned their eyes towards Washington in hopes that they too will pass an aid bill. The passage of the EU bill put them in the lead for how much money has been sent to Ukraine.
There are many hopeful that the passage of the EU bill will put the right amount of pressure on the U.S. to pass their own aid bill. But internal and external pressure is incredibly high in the Senate, making it difficult to determine if the bill will pass. The aid Ukraine will receive is primarily for internal functions mentioned previously like pensions and healthcare, however, the U.S. aid bill would likely be for more military equipment.
In a different tone, some across Europe believe this is a signal that Europe can act in its own interest. With the increased attacks on NATO from former U.S. President Donald Trump, some Europeans were concerned about the future of cooperation. However, some feel this signals the ability for Europe to take care of itself.
Although some within Europe have accused their governments of having war fatigue, it seems this passage and the development of a corridor to rush NATO troops to the frontline may prove that accusation wrong.