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Two-day EU summit begins in Brussels, Ukraine aid in spotlight

Also on the agenda: long-term defense funding, with suggestions the EU needs €100bn+ to build capacity against potential Russian aggression.
Two-day EU summit begins in Brussels, Ukraine aid in spotlight
The 27 EU leaders gathered in Brussels for two-day summit. Photo: Ecaterina Casinge via X/Twitter
Two-day EU summit begins in Brussels, Ukraine aid in spotlight

A two-day EU summit has begun in Brussels, where leaders will discuss continued support for Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing aggression.

One of the key topics is a plan to use billions of euros from frozen Russian assets to purchase weapons for Kyiv. The European Commission proposes using 90% of proceeds from seized Russian funds, potentially up to €3 billion per year, to buy arms for Ukraine’s military.

“These should first of all be used to buy those weapons and ammunition that Ukraine needs to defend itself,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, adding he was optimistic about the chances of leaders agreeing on the issue.

However, Hungary opposes this plan, likely preventing a decision at this summit, DW reports.

The 27 EU leaders will also discuss weapons supplies for Ukraine and boosting the bloc’s defense capabilities.

“It’s high time Europe took radical steps to be defense-ready and put its economy on a war footing,”  European Council President Charles Michel stated

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will address the summit virtually.

EU expansion will be assessed, with Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s candidate status progress evaluated.

“It’s important to see that EU institutions are ready to start negotiations and to do it in June of this year – we should do it as soon as possible, and this is a matter of our credibility. Ukraine delivered, Ukraine implemented the necessary reforms under an extraordinarily difficult situation,” said Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nausėda.

Agricultural matters are also on the agenda, including potentially extending duty-free imports of Ukrainian goods for another year. However, according to Politico, while key European institutions support this move, EU ambassadors failed to reach agreement on it ahead of the summit.

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