EU Out of Funds Amid Ukraine War and Migration Crisis
The EU is cash strapped. With the bloc’s common budget up for review, the member states are not keen in coughing up funds to make up the €100 billion as requested by the Commission. The EU has been caught in a cycle of crisis since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has its hands full with Ukraine war and migration crisis.
Last month, EU’s co-rapporteur for the Committee on Budgets said the bloc reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine through the €50 billion Ukraine Facility. It supports Ukraine’s resilience against aggression and aiding reforms in the context of potential EU accession.
The European Commission proposed to set up a dedicated “Ukraine Facility” in June 2023, with up to €50 billion for the period from 2024 to 2027 in the form of grants and loans. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said they are in a completely different world than in 2020. “This also shows in our budget – this world of multiple crises. We have been using this budget more than ever to be part of the solution to these crises.”
Member States Not Ready to Give EU More Funds
While the EU is enthusiastic in meeting Ukraine’s demands to continue pushing back against Russia, member countries are at logger heads. Emmanuel Macron, the French President, applauded the EU’s dedication and priorities. However, he said the proposed amount is too high. France has asked for a reduction.
Other countries used terms like re-deployment and reprioritizing. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it’s not understandable that they should always increase the budget. “It is essential that we look at the available fund and how it can be reallocated or used differently.”
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, urged the EU to reprioritize, while the Belgian leader Alexander De Croo said it’s not acceptable for his country. “What’s on the table is not acceptable for us.” He warned Belgium might violate the bloc’s deficit rules if it was to pay up.
“It’s the same way the Commission looks at our budget. If we have too much deficit, they ask us to reprioritize and see if certain things can be done in a more efficient way. I think that also applies to the EU institutions.”
EU Says Trade-offs
Von der Leyen said she had been expected such an outcome – a mixture of national contributions and redeployment. She told the member countries this would result in trade-offs, meaning cuts and chops here and there to meet their goal.
The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the Commission wants more money so that they can give it to the integration of migrants and to the Ukrainians. “We do not support any of them, the professional and political arguments are lacking. We will reject them.”