The European Union will spend $9.5 billion to keep Ukraine afloat, as Washington told it to
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday proposed a 9 billion euro ($9.5 billion) aid package to keep Ukraine’s government operating and said the EU would lead the reconstruction efforts in Ukraine after the end of hostilities. His announcement came a day after the United States called on Europe to open its coffers for kyiv.
Money from the aid package would be borrowed by the Commission on global financial markets and would be repayable by Kyiv. Under EU rules on macro-financial assistance, the Ukrainian government would be free to use the money as it sees fit.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed that Ukraine needs about $7 billion a month to pay its soldiers, civilians and pensioners, and to keep essential services running. The package proposed by the EU will therefore keep Ukraine active for just over a month.
Hours before von der Leyen’s announcement, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Brussels Economic Forum that “Bilateral and multilateral support announced so far will not be sufficient to meet Ukraine’s needs, even in the short term.
“I sincerely ask all our partners to join us in increasing their financial support for Ukraine,” she continued, adding that in addition to keeping the country afloat in the short term, “massive support” would be needed to rebuild Ukraine once the fighting is over.
Von der Leyen said on Wednesday that the EU will lead this reconstruction effort, but would not be the sole contributor.
“That is why we are proposing a reconstruction platform under this plan jointly led by Ukraine and the Commission and bringing together EU Member States, other bilateral or international donors, international financial institutions and other like-minded partners”, she says.
Although von der Leyen’s aid package complies with Yellen’s request, it still needs to be approved by both the European Parliament and the European Council. However, none of the Commission’s aid programs for Ukraine so far – which include four consecutive military aid programs of €500 million ($520 million) and €1.2 billion ( $1.26 billion) in emergency loans – met with no resistance from either agency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused European leaders of acting on behalf of their “American Overlord” with regard to Ukraine, and engage economically “suicide” cutting itself off from Russian energy resources in a context of inflation and record fuel prices.
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