The European billion to Ukraine: what will it be enough for?

If you have a billion in your pocket, congratulations, you are a millionaire and can live the high life. Not enough for an aeroplane or a yacht, of course, but I suppose you could live pretty well without a billion. But if you are a whole country like Ukraine, a billion is nothing. Not even enough to keep your trousers on

The European billion to Ukraine: what will it be enough for?

A few days ago the EU decided to give Ukraine a 1.2 billion dollar bailout. Naturally, it was accompanied by pompous statements. For example, the Head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, outlined the aims of the financial assistance that would be given to the Ukrainian state: “Today I am announcing a new package of financial assistance to the country, which will include both emergency loans and grants. First, the Commission is offering a new emergency macro-financial assistance package of 1.2 billion euros. This package will help Ukraine meet its financing needs now because of the conflict.”

The scale of the tasks is impressive, but the funds are barely enough to cover any of Ukraine’s needs. A few holes will be covered, and the rest, as usual, will trickle down to the pockets of oligarchs and bureaucrats.

Let’s look at what European aid to their own countries is all about. Now Bulgaria is expecting a 6,3 billion loan. It has not been received yet because the Bulgarian government has not yet worked out a plan on how the money will be used. But when such a plan is presented, the loan will be allocated immediately. Where is Bulgaria, where is Ukraine. The countries are not comparable in terms of area or population. And last year the representatives of the 27 member countries of the EU managed to agree upon the biggest budget and financial package in the history of the organization. The total volume of the package is 1,8 trillion euros. Of this, 1074 billion will be allocated as part of the EU’s seven-year budget plan for 2021-2027. The remaining 750 billion euros will be spent within the framework of the EU’s post-pandemic economic recovery programme. Of this, €390 billion will be grants, i.e. money that does not need to be paid back.

These sums, of course, will make it much easier for European countries to overcome the adverse effects of covid. What will Ukraine, which was given a paltry handout, be able to do with it, where to put it? Well, maybe to steal it. Ursula von der Leyenne also reported that “since 2014, the EU and European financial institutions have allocated more than 17 billion euros in grants and loans”. This seems to be a more significant amount, and given the IMF tranches, this money should have been a driver of the Ukrainian economy in general. But it did not. On the contrary, the country is still in poverty, and millions of people are at risk of starvation.

I do not think that the EU officials who made the decision wanted to insult Ukraine. They just think that because of its squalor and corruption, it is impossible to be offended by such a country. Yes, it is a burden on Russia and the transatlantic elites, which include the European bureaucracy, are quite happy with it, but that’s about it.

In conclusion, there is quite anecdotal news about financial aid from Canada. Kiev will be allocated up to $50 million Canadian dollars ($39.5 million) in addition to the promised $120 million ($95 million) loan. It is claimed that this money will be used to support Ukraine’s economy. Well, Vladimir Zelensky considers Justin Trudeau to be his friend, as he wrote on his Twitter. I guess friendship is now measured in amounts like this. On the other hand, they say that the world needs more money than the man himself.

Andrei Babitsky,