European Union leaders have unanimously agreed to provide a €50 billion ($54 billion) support package for Ukraine, after overcoming the objections of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who had threatened to veto the deal.
The agreement was reached on Thursday at a summit in Brussels, where EU leaders discussed a range of issues, including the bloc’s response to Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine’s borders.
The €50 billion package, dubbed the Ukraine Facility, is meant to help Kyiv implement reforms, strengthen its economy and resilience, and foster its integration with the EU. It will be disbursed over four years, subject to annual reports by the European Commission and periodic reviews by the European Council.
Orbán, who is seen as a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had blocked the deal in December, citing concerns over the rule of law in Ukraine and the rights of the Hungarian minority in the country. He had also accused the EU of using the aid as a tool to pressure Hungary over its own rule of law issues.
However, after intense negotiations and pressure from other EU leaders, Orbán lifted his veto on Thursday, accepting some minor concessions, such as a reference to the EU’s previous conclusions on the rule of law in Hungary and a debate at the leaders’ level on the implementation of the Ukraine Facility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the decision and thanked the EU for its solidarity and leadership. He said the deal was a “step of historic proportions” and a “strong signal of support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.