rsula von der Leyen, the President of the European Union’s executive Commission branch announced a long-discussed new framework to the Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), a package of funding presently running from 2021 to 2027. Agreed between member states and negotiated internally, the present agreement was said to run to nearly €140 billion ($153bn) but has, by von der Leyen’s admission, come up short when met with a series of crises after crisis this decade.
Now the European Commission wants to rebalance the budget to free up €50 ($54.5bn) billion until the end of this MFF in 2027, and will comprise of both a €17 billion ($18.5bn) “free grant” low-interest loans for the rest. This figure comes on top of the €30 billion already allocated to Ukraine to support their defence against Russia’s invasion by the EU.
While the cash injection may seem considerable, it is already considerably less than what Kyiv was asking of its European neighbors recently, with a call for “four to five billion dollars for our budget every month,” with two billion of those every month to be handed over by European nations.
Von der Leyen claimed at a press call on Tuesday that the proposed spending was “very targeted” and limited to “the ‘absolute must’,” but that the number one priority was Ukraine, with funding EU border control next.
“We have mobilised every Euro we could for Ukraine itself. The solidarity lanes, the humanitarian needs, the macro-financial assistance, if you put that in a figure direct from the EU budget for Ukraine we allocated so far €30 billion. And of course, this was never foreseen… and this is why we need to revisit our budget now.“
The €50 billion “financial reserve” of loans and grants would provide:
“predictability, and also incentivise other donors to step up too. This financial reserve will allow us to calibrate our financial support according to the evolution of the situation on the ground, as we all know the war requires utmost flexibility from us.”
As reported by Reuters, this review of the budget comes because the previously agreed MFF has been “depleted” by EU spending on Coronavirus measures, the war in Ukraine, and inflation and the energy crisis that followed. In all, European nations are being asked to provide a further €66 billion ($72bn), roughly half the value of the original agreed MFF.
Yet while taxpayers may baulk at this colossal sum coming from their pockets to rebuild Ukraine after Russia’s war, it has previously been claimed that the Europeans who work for and own certain businesses can expect to benefit from the spending. Breitbart News reported in January on the comments of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who predicted a “Ukrainian economic miracle” for German industry from the contracts to rebuild the country after the war.
In a speech delivered on the stage alongside German-born World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab at the annual globalist meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he expects German companies to be at the forefront in implementing a “Marshall Plan for the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine.”
“Private-sector capital will play a key role here. I know that many companies in Germany and beyond are very aware of the opportunities that a Ukrainian economic miracle could offer to them,” the left-wing leader commented. Chancellor Scholz said that he expects German industry to roll into Ukraine at a swifter pace once “the country moves toward the European Union after the end of the war.”
Investment bankers can also expect to benefit, with BlackRock — the largest asset manager in the world — intimately involved in the reconstruction plan.
In terms of footing the bill, there are other options being put forward by nations party — by proxy — to the conflict. The United Kingdom has said it will not drop sanctions on Russia itself until the Kremlin coughs up to pay the cost of rebuilding Ukraine.
Given the UK has proven a trend-setting in Western attitudes to the Ukraine war so far, it is not beyond question that others would come onboard with the idea. As reported by the Daily Telegraph, the UK will create a route “for sanctioned individuals” to “do the right thing” by voluntarily donating frozen assets to a Ukrainian recovery fund. It is claimed the rebuilding of Ukraine is said to cost between $400 and $600 billion and rising, a figure that was reached before the Kakhovka dam was bombed, unleashing the Dnipro downstream.✪