1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Ukraine Cabinet minister: €50 billion EU aid is 'vital'

Rana Taha
February 2, 2024

Olha Stefanishyna told DW that EU aid is a message of European support for all Ukrainians. However, she also said Kyiv was "anxious" regarding the pending US support.

Olha Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, speaks during a press conference in Vienna, Austria, on November 23, 2023.
Stefanishyna hailed the EU's fresh aid package, but acknowledged Kyiv was 'anxious' regarding the USImage: Helmut Fohringer/APA/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union approval of a €50 billion ($55 billion) aid package for Ukraine was a "vital decision," said Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine's deputy prime minister for the European and Euro Atlantic integration of Ukraine.

In an interview with DW on Friday, Stefanishyna said the aid was not only offering support to those fighting the war, but also to the citizens who have to live through it.

"And first and foremost, it's a message to all Ukrainian people, Ukrainian medical workers, social workers, teachers, that they will have their necessary payments and to Ukrainian society, which has the signal that it will survive throughout the four years," she said.

EU agrees €50 billion in aid for Ukraine

EU deal passed despite Hungary opposition

The approved fund would be given to Kyiv over the next four years. Hungary, in particular, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, had been holding out on the agreement.

In order to fund Ukraine as part of the EU's main budget, as Brussels preferred, unanimous approval from the heads of state or government of every EU member was required.

EU leaders agreed to an optional review in two years "if needed," as a compromise with Hungary.

Stefanishyna rejected the notion that support for Ukraine within the EU was waning. She noted that Orban was wearing a "tie of peace" during the Thursday summit, in reference to the green necktie around Orban's neck.

"Which means that the transformation [has] started. And I think unfortunately Ukraine has to fight the war, but at the end of the day, it will result in a stronger union," she said.

How does Kyiv feel about the US stalemate?

However, Stefanishyna acknowledged that the EU aid package was not enough, adding that Kyiv was "anxious" about the situation with its other biggest ally, Washington.

The US Congress has blocked aid to Ukraine, with Republicans attempting to tie it to reforming immigration laws.

Things could even get more complicated for Kyiv, with former President Donald Trump most likely running in the US presidential election later this year and potentially even getting reelected.

Stefanishyna commended NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to the US, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's anticipated visit on February 9.

"I think this is a very important show of solidarity that Europe stands strong for its security, but the US role is still vital at this point," she said.

Ukraine hopes EU's aid package will prompt US to follow suit

Ukraine's EU, NATO membership 'on track'

Stefanishyna also stressed that Ukraine was "perfectly… on track" with its EU and NATO membership.

"On the EU, it's very clear," she said. "So all the decisions and commitments have been made. Ukraine is in a process and Ukraine's administration is perfectly capable of delivering on that."

The EU agreed in December to open membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova.

Ukrainians welcome bid to join European Union

Stefanishyna also said Ukraine was on track to joining NATO, stressing that "Ukraine membership to NATO is vital for the allies."

The minister also downplayed the stalemate at the front line with Russia.

"You cannot say that the front is stuck. And we're also at a war in which Ukraine tests new technologies, which means that the front is not the way you have seen it in World War II," she said.

The interview with Olha Stefanishyna was conducted by DW's Terry Martin.

Edited by: Rob Turner