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EU’s €20-billion plan for Ukraine army support hits resistance – EURACTIV.com

A European Union plan to spend as much as €20 billion on army support for Ukraine is assembly resistance from EU international locations and will not survive in its present type, diplomats say.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s overseas coverage chief, proposed in July that the bloc create a fund with as much as €5 billion a 12 months over 4 years as a part of broader Western safety commitments to bolster Ukraine because it fights Russia’s invasion.

However as EU defence ministers put together to debate the plan in Brussels on Tuesday (14 November), diplomats say a number of international locations – together with EU heavyweight Germany – have voiced reservations about committing such massive sums years upfront.

The EU and its members have been among the many largest donors of army support to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022, offering arms and tools value some €25 billion, in accordance with the bloc’s diplomatic service.

Borrell’s proposal was an effort to place assist on a longer-term footing, by making a money pot for Ukraine support inside an even bigger fund, the European Peace Facility, used to reimburse EU members for army help to different international locations.

“I’m not going to declare it useless at this level but. However after all, enhancements can at all times be made,” a senior EU diplomat mentioned on Friday, talking on situation of anonymity.

“Germany has had a whole lot of questions … and rightfully so. We’re speaking about some huge cash.”

The controversy over army support comes as EU nations are additionally in discussions over a proposal to offer Ukraine 50 billion euros in financial help.

The EU can be dealing with challenges over different facets of its army support to Ukraine.

Many officers and diplomats say the bloc will battle to satisfy a goal of supplying Kyiv with 1 million artillery shells and missiles by March subsequent 12 months.

And Hungary has for months been holding up €500 million in payouts from the Peace Facility to EU members for Ukraine support over Ukraine’s blacklisting a Hungarian financial institution, OTP.

Because the financial institution was faraway from the blacklist, Hungary has been insisting it needs ensures it won’t return there.

Safety packages

EU governments have careworn that long-term EU army support have to be coordinated with safety packages that particular person EU international locations are negotiating with Kyiv, making it arduous to choose a price ticket whereas these talks are ongoing.

At an EU summit final month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned the main focus for now must be on such bilateral packages.

Some EU members have additionally argued they may battle to make a giant long-term pledge as home budgets are squeezed.

“For some member states, there’s the fact of the general public funds,” mentioned a second EU diplomat.

A 3rd EU diplomat mentioned the probability of Borrell’s authentic proposal being adopted was declining however many international locations nonetheless needed to have a dedication at EU stage.

Three diplomats advised the EU might find yourself deciding to go year-by-year with its commitments, somewhat than signing up for a bigger quantity stretching over 4 years.

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