9 Jan 2024 15:14

Belgian presidency of Council of EU aims at financial assistance to Ukraine - European Commission president

BRUSSELS. Jan 9 (Interfax) - Macrofinancial assistance to Ukraine is "the most strategic" priority of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

"After the historic decision to launch accession negotiations with Ukraine, we must urgently move forward on stabilizing our financial aid to the country," von der Leyen said at a joint press conference with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday. The press conference followed a meeting of the European Commission with the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2024.

The European Commission will offer the Council of the European Union "operational solutions" to guarantee the consensus on the Ukraine facility within the framework of the updated EU budget for 2024-2027.

"Belgium will then have the key task of transforming the political agreement on the facility through Council [of the European Union] and [European] Parliament as quickly as possible," von der Leyen said.

"The Ukraine facility is a central element of the revision of the multi-annual budget" for 2021-2027, she said.

The stance of Hungary prevented the European Council from approving amendments to the EU budget for 2024-2027, which envisage 50-billion-euro macrofinancial assistance to Ukraine, at a summit on December 14-15, 2023.

European Council President Charles Michel said on December 18 it was planned to hold a special summit on February 1, 2024, to review the EU budget for 2024-2027 in the context of macrofinancial assistance to Ukraine.