EU ministers back more Ukraine aid, but differ on other spending


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union finance ministers on Friday unanimously backed extra funds for Ukraine through a top-up of its long-term budget, although differences persisted over other spending that threaten to delay or block proposed aid to Kyiv.

Spanish Finance Minister Nadia Calvino told a news conference that EU finance ministers meeting on Friday had backed continued financial support for Ukraine.

“The Spanish presidency is committed to proceed swiftly to have a stable framework in place by January 2024,” she said.

Calvino added that more technical work would be needed to support Ukraine, whose economy has been damaged by Russia’s invasion.

The European Commission has proposed increasing the EU’s budget until 2027 by 66 billion euros ($74.11 billion). The part for Ukraine would be 17 billion euros, with a further 33 billion euros of loans.

The other money is earmarked to cover higher interest payments, for migration policy and to spur more investment in critical technology.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said he backed extra spending on Ukraine, but not increases elsewhere.

“We see fiscal constraints in all member states. This is why the Commission should not expect member states to contribute more. Ukraine is a separate issue,” he told reporters before the meeting of EU finance ministers.

Polish finance minister Magdalena Rzeczkowska said her country was unhappy that the EU’s budget review did not also cover the extra needs of Ukraine’s EU neighbours that have accepted refugees fleeing the conflict.

Asked if Poland would block the package of support for Ukraine without this, she said Warsaw would analyse the situation.

“It’s one of our priorities to have this element of support for frontal states supporting refugees included in the review,” she said. ($1 = 0.8906 euros)

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Gabriela Baczynska and Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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