Before the European Council, time for doubt for Ukraine

Before the European Council, time for doubt for Ukraine

Clouds are gathering over Ukraine. Announced as the prelude to a rapid victory, the summer counter-offensive was disappointing: the front had only advanced a few dozen kilometers, the Russian lines had not been penetrated, the enemy retained its capacity to attack, as evidenced by the fierceness of the current fighting around the town of Avdiivka.

The Western allies are showing signs of disaffection, twenty-two months after the start of the Russian invasion. Previously a cause of consensus, the question of assistance to Ukraine is now a subject of domestic politics exploited in the United States as in Europe.

In Washington, some Republican deputies, tempted by isolationism and unleashed against the Democratic administration of Joe Biden, are bargaining for a new check in kyiv.

In Brussels, the European Council on December 14 and 15, called to decide on 50 billion euros in additional aid between 2024 and 2027 proposed by the Commission, is disturbed by Hungary’s reluctance. As usual, President Viktor Orban negotiates, in return, community funds.

Populism and war

However, external support is vital for Ukraine. Since the first day of Russian aggression, the European Union and the Member States have made 82 billion euros available, including 25 in military support. During the same period, the American Congress voted 113 billion dollars (105 billion euros) in credits to kyiv, including 43 (40 billion euros) for security. But can this effort continue?

Donald Trump trumpets that if re-elected in November 2024, he would end the war “in one day” – implying, by cutting aid. Within the EU, the rise of populist forces worries supporters of Ukraine. The new Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, had a campaign slogan: “Not a bullet for kyiv!”

Across the Rhine, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), leading in the polls, disavows the sanctions against Moscow. In France, the RN does not dispel its ambiguities. In the Netherlands, the winner of the November 22 elections, Geert Wilders, wants to keep the planes promised to Ukraine for his country. Finally, Europe has still not moved to a war economy: where then can we find the munitions promised to the Ukrainians?

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