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22 Nov, 2023 10:42

EU to consider Ukraine security pledge – Bloomberg

Hungary and Slovakia, however, have been strongly opposed to sending arms to Kiev
EU to consider Ukraine security pledge – Bloomberg

The EU has pitched a framework of security commitments for Ukraine to its member states, seeking to substantially boost Kiev’s military power and bring it closer to the West, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. However, several EU states have opposed arms deliveries to the country, while expressing skepticism about accession talks.

The draft document seen by the agency will be discussed by EU decision makers in the coming days and weeks, and calls for “a predictable, efficient, sustainable and long-term mechanism for the provision of military equipment” to Kiev, training of its troops, and intelligence sharing.

The proposal also includes enhancing cooperation with Ukraine’s defense industry and boosting its cyber potential. Other points focus on helping the country with reforms to pave the way for its eventual accession to the EU.

However, one EU diplomat told Bloomberg that the bloc’s initial plan to earmark €20 billion ($21.8 billion) for providing Ukraine with weapons is in jeopardy, as several member states, including Germany, failed to reach a compromise on the terms. Instead, EU members reportedly hope to agree on a €5 billion assistance package for next year.

This comes after German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed numerous reports last week that the EU would miss its target of delivering 1 million artillery shells by next spring, while questioning whether the goal was “realistic” in the first place.

Though many EU countries have strongly supported Ukraine’s fight against Russia and have backed its aspiration to join the bloc, the current policy has drawn criticism from some states.

Hungary has been especially vocal in this regard, consistently opposing any military assistance to Kiev. The stance was recently echoed by Slovakia, where its newly elected prime minister, Robert Fico, campaigned on a promise to not send “a single round” to Ukraine.

Hungary has also opposed Ukraine’s potential membership in the EU, arguing that it could “bring war” to the bloc.

While Slovakia has supported Ukraine’s EU aspirations, it has said that the road to accession would be long and thorny.

Earlier this month, the EU recommended opening formal membership talks, with the final decision expected to be made at a summit in December. However, a Reuters report last week poured cold water on those hopes, with a senior official saying that the negotiations on the matter were “at risk” due to Hungary’s opposition. The Reuters source added that some EU leaders suggested returning to the topic next spring.