EU possibly to delay Ukraine decision

(MENAFN) According to an unnamed senior European Union official, Brussels may defer the initiation of formal membership talks with Ukraine, originally slated for next month's summit, and consider rescheduling the matter for March 2024, as reported by Reuters on Friday. The prospect of Hungary blocking the consensus required to commence talks has been raised, with the official involved in preparing the December 14-15 summit of the heads of 27 European Union member states noting that the issue extends beyond Budapest.

While some European Union leaders have suggested addressing the matter at the March summit, allowing the European Commission time to assess whether Kiev meets all European Union conditions, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban has already expressed reservations, stating earlier this month that Ukraine is "absolutely not ready" for European Union membership talks. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto went further, labeling it "absurd" for the bloc to evaluate Kiev's compliance while a war is ongoing.

Despite the European Union's repeated commitments to stand with Ukraine for "as long as it takes," the unnamed official told Reuters that recent discussions have served as a "reality check" on this policy, with national leaders recognizing the considerable financial implications. The official stated, "We cannot allow Ukraine to go bankrupt; it's not an option for us. But it's not easy. How do we pay for this?"

Foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell's proposal to allocate an additional 50 billion euros (USD54 billion) to Ukraine through 2027 has reportedly faced criticism "from several sides," not limited to Hungary. The deliberations within the European Union underscore the complex considerations surrounding Ukraine's potential membership and the financial commitments required, prompting a reevaluation of the bloc's approach and timing in light of ongoing geopolitical challenges.


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