EU Must Provide Ukraine with the Support It Needs to Be 'Strong': von der Leyen


   EU chief Ursula von der Leyen calls on the bloc's 27 leaders to support significant financial aid for Ukraine and endorse Kyiv's aspirations for membership talks. In anticipation of a crucial summit, von der Leyen stressed the need to empower Ukraine today, strengthening it for future negotiations for a lasting and just peace.

The European Commission president addressed MEPs, emphasizing the importance of providing Ukraine with the necessary support. The EU leaders are set to convene in Brussels on Thursday to address challenges, including opposition from Hungary, Russia's closest ally in the EU, to extending fresh support to Kyiv almost two years after Russia's full-scale invasion.

Von der Leyen has proposed initiating formal talks with Ukraine on joining the 27-nation bloc, and there is a push to provide Kyiv with 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in financial aid over the next four years. The outcome of this summit could significantly impact the trajectory of EU-Ukraine relations.

The discussion on future EU support for Ukraine unfolds amid uncertainty surrounding the backing from Kyiv's key ally, the United States, as Republican opponents of President Joe Biden cast doubts on it.

"As the war drags on, we must demonstrate what it truly means to support Ukraine for as long as necessary," stated Von der Leyen. She emphasized that Ukraine is not only battling the invader but also fighting for Europe, and integrating into the European family would represent Ukraine's ultimate victory.

To address objections from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, von der Leyen's commission is expected to unlock 10 billion euros in EU funding for Budapest. This move has raised concerns of Brussels backing down in its rule-of-law standoff with Orban. However, it remains uncertain whether this gesture will prevent a dispute among leaders at the summit. The summit's outcomes could significantly influence the dynamics of support for Ukraine and the EU's stance on key geopolitical matters.