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Belgium begins its EU presidency today, with support for Ukraine among priorities

Belgium begins its EU presidency today, with support for Ukraine among priorities Belgium begins its EU presidency (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Belgium assumed the presidency of the European Union from Spain on January 1, 2024. According to a specialized website initiated by the Belgian government, one of the country's priorities for the next six months is to support Ukraine.

The rotating presidency of the EU changes every six months, and Belgium will hold the presidency from January to June 2024 before passing it on to Hungary.

Belgium's presidency program emphasizes a commitment to continuing European support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression. Belgian presidency will work towards better protection of European citizens, strengthening our cooperation, and preparing for our common future. It will focus efforts on six thematic areas and pay special attention to the continuation of our unwavering support for Ukraine.

The document also notes that the contemporary world is experiencing the most dangerous period of the past decade, with the multilateral system and international order based on rules facing increasing pressure in terms of geopolitical confrontation and transnational security threats, including the return of open warfare to the European continent.

Thus, the Belgian presidency will contribute to EU efforts to strengthen stability and strategic autonomy, as well as in defending the interests of the European Union, including supporting peace and security, strengthening the EU's position as a global international actor, and upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

"The main focus of the presidency will be on providing unwavering political, economic, military, humanitarian, and legal support for Ukraine," the document states.

The Belgian presidency will continue the practical implementation of the EU Strategic Compass and further enhance the EU's resilience to hybrid threats in the field of security and defense.

To achieve these goals, the Belgian government will concentrate efforts on strengthening the technological and industrial base of the EU to ensure security in the supply of military capabilities.

One of the main tasks of the Belgian presidency in the EU is identified as conducting a broad discussion at the level of Euro-institutions and member countries on the future EU policy in areas such as foreign affairs, development, trade, security, and defense, within the framework of developing the EU's Strategic Agenda after 2024.

Assistance to Ukraine

It was previously reported that Belgium would create a special fund of 1.7 billion euros for Ukraine, funded from taxes on frozen Russian assets in Belgium.

Ukraine has also received a batch of armored vehicles M113 from three European countries, including Belgium.

Besides, in December, the Minister of Defense of Belgium, Ludivine Dedonder, confirmed the country's intention to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in 2025.