Hungary had already vetoed the bill and denounced the bloc’s armed aid to Ukraine.
A further 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in aid for Ukraine has been approved by all 27 members of the European Union, despite Hungary’s threats to block the proposal.
Just one hour into a special session of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, European Council President Charles Michel declared, “We have a deal,” in a post on X.
According to Michel, the action shows that the “EU is taking leadership and responsibility in support for Ukraine; we know what is at stake” and “locks in steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for Ukraine.”
As the war with Russia nears its third year, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine stated that the EU’s ratification of the aid package will boost long-term economic and financial stability.
“It is crucial that the decision was reached by all 27 leaders, demonstrating the strong unity of the EU once again,” he wrote on X.
“Until the triumph”
In recent months, Ukraine has grown more and more dependent on financial assistance from Western nations, as political setbacks to US and EU help have reinforced Russian confidence in the stalemate of the conflict.
Reluctantly, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary accepted the bloc’s decision to designate Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership in December, along with the approval of the most recent assistance package that would extend until 2027.
Orban, however, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was incensed at the European Commission for deciding to deny his government access to a portion of the bloc’s money due to worries that Hungary would pose a threat to the EU budget.
Orban vetoed a number of EU measures in reaction to the lack of access.
As she arrived for the crucial meeting on Thursday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told reporters, “I don’t want to use the word blackmail, but I don’t know what other better word” may apply.
She declared, “Hungary needs Europe.” Kallas said, addressing Orban, “He should also look into what it is in it for Hungary, being in Europe.”
Kallas stated that the agreement was a “significant signal to Ukraine that the EU stands behind you long-term, until victory” when it was finalized.
Additionally, Evika Silina, the prime minister of Latvia, wrote on X that the accord was “great news for the security of Latvia and all of Europe.”
According to the Ministry of Economy, Ukraine anticipates receiving the first installment of the EU facility in March, worth 4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion).
Following the news of the agreement, Rob McBride of Al Jazeera reported from Kiev that there was “a great sense of relief” across Ukraine.
This provides longer-term security by guaranteeing financing for four years. In an effort to draw in investment from the private sector, there has also been a lot of discussion about some of these monies flowing into an investment fund,” he continued.
Orban said that in exchange for withdrawing Hungary’s veto, he had gotten assurances on billions of euros in halted EU funds.
“We obtained a guarantee that Hungary’s funds would not end up in Ukraine, and we ultimately negotiated a control mechanism to ensure that the money would be used sensibly,” he stated.
Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler reported from Brussels, stating that the EU was eager to convey a message of solidarity.
“To send the message to Moscow that they are united when it comes to Ukraine, particularly in a difficult year in which we have the US elections – they know there is a lot of uncertainty ahead,” she continued, was a crucial step for the EU.
The cash from the EU is particularly important because the US is still blocking a comparable assistance package because of internal political problems, which are made more problematic by the upcoming presidential election in November.
The executive director of the Center for Economic Strategy, Hlib Vyshlinsky, told Al Jazeera that “US funding to Ukraine became a hostage of domestic US politics.”
“Ukraine found it extremely difficult to take any action with it during a year of US presidential elections.”