June 23. 2024. 8:29

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NATO ministers to discuss implementing of €100 billion fund for Ukraine 

NATO foreign ministers are expected to discuss a support package for Ukraine at length when they meet in Prague on Friday (31 May) ahead of the alliance’s July summit in Washington.

Last month, NATO officials proposed a €100 billion fund to sustain military deliveries to Ukraine and move Western military support coordination from the Ramstein format under the NATO umbrella.

Initially billed as the ‘NATO mission,’ the package is likely to undergo a rebranding to avoid the potentially misleading term ‘mission’, which can refer to an on-the-ground operation in Ukraine—an idea firmly rejected by numerous leaders.

The push was initially aimed at protecting long-term support for Kyiv from political changes in the governments across the NATO military alliance while Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.

Governments in Europe veering more to the right could follow Hungary and Slovakia’s reluctance to support Kyiv, and elections in the United States may bring former Republican US President Donald Trump back to the White House, potentially jeopardising the flow of weapons and other defence equipment deliveries.

NATO diplomats hope that this week’s Prague meeting will consolidate positions so a decision can be taken at the Washington summit. The 32 leaders are expected to deliver a significant aid package for Ukraine and discuss Ukraine’s wish to join the alliance.

Before even agreeing to create a fund, NATO ministers will have to answer many difficult questions, several diplomats told Euractiv, including the contribution key for all member states and its use.

“For now, there is no €100 billion fund,” one NATO diplomat told Euractiv, adding that it remains to be seen how much each member would contribute to the fund.

It is unclear whether the calculation will be based on a country’s GDP or on its contributions to the NATO common costs budget.

According to the former, the larger the GDP, the more money one gives, putting the US way ahead of the others, with Germany and France far behind. According to the common cost contributions calculation, the US and Germany provide just as much money to the NATO budget, while France and the United Kingdom also match.

Another idea is for each NATO member to contribute a fixed percentage.

Estonia, as Euractiv reported earlier, has been pushing for NATO allies to allocate 0,25% of their GDP to Ukraine to reach around €100 billion.

NATO ministers are also expected to give their opinion on the fund’s shelf life and what it will pay for in terms of defence equipment.

The Western military alliance has so far remained outside the scope of providing direct lethal support to Ukraine, in fears it will drag it into a direct war against Russia.

However, ever since, NATO’s tone of voice has changed.

NATO’s 32 capitals are now considering moving the coordination of bilateral military support to Ukraine into the NATO institutional framework—inside or outside Ukraine territory.

It currently occurs in the ad hoc Ramstein support group, created under the US Biden administration.

Euractiv understands that NATO’s tasks in that regard also remain under discussion. Suggestions include coordinating which equipment to deliver and whether NATO will be involved in transporting equipment to Ukraine’s borders and training armed forces.

Discussions will likely continue after Friday’s ministers meeting for diplomats and experts in NATO Brussels headquarters and the capitals.

Read more with Euractiv

EU countries vent anger at Hungary’s blockages of Ukraine aid decisions

EU countries vent anger at Hungary’s blockages of Ukraine aid decisions

EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday (27 May) vented their anger with Hungary’s "pattern of behaviour" which increasingly often blocks EU foreign policy decisions and prevents progress on crucial military aid for Ukraine.