EU Overcomes Roadblock, Approves More Aid for Ukraine

( – Ukraine is approaching the second anniversary of the date Russia invaded its nation. For months prior, Russian President Vladimir Putin made excuses about why he was building up troops on the border with his country’s neighbor. Then, at the end of February in 2022, he gave his military the green light to launch a full-scale invasion.

In recent months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has begged his allies to send more aid to his country. Without it, his military would literally run out of bullets. Now, the European Union (EU) has approved a massive aid package. But the nations had to get past one roadblock to get it done.

EU Aid

On Thursday, February 1, the EU agreed to give Ukraine a $54 billion aid package. The agreement had been in the works for weeks, but Hungary’s prime minister was blocking it.

The deal was finally reached after European Council President Charles Michel called an emergency EU summit meeting to discuss the matter with the leaders of the alliance, which includes 27 countries.

According to reporting by The New York Times, some members joked that they were going to send Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán their hotel bills so he could pay for their extended stays in Brussels to work out a deal. About one hour into the meeting, the leaders of the other nations deployed a carefully planned pressure campaign that forced the prime minister to cave and agree to the spending.

What Happened?

Michel reportedly called Orbán on Monday and told him that his demand for a yearly veto of the Ukraine fund would not be granted. He also informed the prime minister that some members were considering a measure to completely strip him of his vote.

On Wednesday, Orbán met with Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, who is his friend and a fellow hard right leader. During their meeting at a five-star hotel, Meloni reportedly convinced her friend to play along because he had more to gain if he did. According to POLITICO, she’d been working behind the scenes to get Orbán on board with the plan for weeks.

French President Emmanuel Macron also met with the Hungarian prime minister and worked to convince him that agreeing to the deal was the best way to go. Macron has been working hard to foster a relationship with Orbán in recent months.

The deal was important for more than one reason. First, it would help the Ukrainian economy stay afloat for the next four years, even though the US has not yet passed a similar package. Second, it showed that with the right amount of pressure on Orbán, who often obstructs measures, they can still manage to get items passed. Fortunately for Ukraine, their efforts succeeded.

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