Brussels on Tuesday asked EU member states to back a 50-billion-euro ($55-billion) package to support Ukraine over the next four years, as part of a boost to the bloc’s budget.
“This financial reserve will allow us really to calibrate our financial support according to the evolution of the situation on the ground,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said.
The proposal from the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is aimed at helping prop up Kyiv’s finances and covering immediate reconstruction costs caused by Russia’s war.
The money, 33 billion euros ($36 billion) in loans and 17 billion ($18.5 billion) in grants, is part of the review to plug gaps in the EU’s budget for the period 2024-2027 left by the fallout of the COVID pandemic and the conflict.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal thanked von der Leyen “for such steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine.”
The amount still could represent less each year than the 18 billion euros ($19.6 billion) the EU has committed towards Ukraine government expenditures in 2023.
Overall, the EU has already committed 30 billion euros ($32.7 billion) from its budget to support the country since Russia’s all-out invasion in February 2022.
The money for Ukraine is expected to be dependent on reforms to strengthen its judiciary and tackle corruption that are intended to spur Kyiv along the path to joining the EU.
The proposal comes ahead of a major donor conference in London this week on paying for Ukraine’s reconstruction.
The World Bank in March estimated Ukraine’s long-term reconstruction costs at over 380 billion euros ($415 billion).
As part of its budget review, Brussels is also asking for 15 billion euros ($16.3 million) more to help manage immigration and 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion) to subsidize key industries.
But the demands for a fresh injection of money will face some serious headwinds from EU countries still grappling with the consequences of the pandemic and war.
All 27 member countries have to agree to increasing the budget. Leaders are set to kickstart the discussions at a summit next week.
“We are fully aware of the fact that member states were also hit by the crises and after years of large public support to their economies it is now time for them for consolidating,” von der Leyen said.
“We come today with a very targeted and limited proposal for the absolute must.”
The EU’s initial seven-year budget agreed in 2020 was 1.07 trillion euros ($1.17 trillion).
But von der Leyen insisted that the global turmoil seen since then had necessitated the new demands.
“We saw three years of crisis after crisis,” the commission president said.
“So we are in a completely different world compared to 2020.”