Rutte: EU leaders close to an agreement on extra €3.5 billion for Ukraine weapons
The European Union countries are nearing an agreement to inject an additional 3.5 billion euros into the fund which the bloc uses to finance weapon deliveries to Ukraine, according to Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "I think we are very close to making a decision, if not almost there," he said following the European Council summit in Brussels that took place on Thursday and Friday.
EU member states can request reimbursement for weapon deliveries to Ukraine through the European Peace Facility (EPF) fund. However, the 5.7 billion euro fund was created before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is therefore not designed for the Ukraine's significant financial needs. The additional 2 billion euro increase added in the fall has been completely spent on the supplementary artillery ammunition that Ukraine urgently needs.
Rutte emphasized the importance of the fund, stating that the Netherlands supports the proposed increase. "We still have to make a final decision." He noted that augmenting the fund is vital not only for Europe as a whole but also for addressing the situation in Ukraine.
Countries such as France and Italy have long maintained that the significant aid provided to Ukraine should not result in other countries, like those in Africa, being overlooked. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated that numerous "partners" are drawing comparisons with Ukraine and increasingly seeking military assistance from the European Union. Rutte noted that the EU always considers what can be done in response to specific requests, but that the current assistance to Ukraine should remain exceptional.
Reporting by ANP