State of the Union: War economy and humanitarian aid

European Union leaders debated how to boost investment in several sectors, including defense
European Union leaders debated how to boost investment in several sectors, including defense Copyright Omar Havana/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Isabel Marques da Silva
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The economic impact of war and new sources of investment for defence were at the heart of the EU summit this week in Brussels.

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In addition to human suffering, which can never be counted, war is, in fact, also a question of financial capacity.

Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion a little over two years ago, the EU and its member states have supported Ukraine with almost €88 billion, according to figures from the European Commission released last January.

But the EU has also decided to invest more in its own defence capacity. Some countries propose issuing common debt, others advocate using windfall profits from immobilised Russian assets.

The EU leaders summit in Brussels this week revolved a lot around how to get the necessary resources.

"Indeed there’s strong support to use windfall profits of immobilised assets for military purposes for Ukraine. I told leaders that if we are swift now in concluding the proposal we could disburse the first billion on the first of July already," said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

The IPSOS poll

In the programme we also draw attention to the exclusive, first-of-its-kind survey about the upcoming European Parliament elections carried out in 18 EU member states by Ipsos for Euronews and released this week during a special "On air" live event.

Support for the far-right is likely to rise in the next European Parliament, but pro-European parties will still hold 63% of the seats, according to our poll.

The ability to form coalitions to pass more controversial legislation could be the biggest test for the centre's traditional forces.

Humanitarian Forum

For the third year, the European Humanitarian Forum took place in Brussels to raise funds for global needs which reached unprecedented levels last year. 

Projections indicate that nearly 300 million people worldwide need humanitarian assistance. EU member states together with the European Commission announced pledges of over €7 billion.

Several United Nations agencies sent their representatives and Euronews interviewed Natalia Kanem, Executive-Director of the United Nations Population Fund, who highlighted the plight of women and children.

"Women and children are always the ones who bear the worst of any crisis, humanitarian, conflict and climate disaster being the most, common reasons," she said.

"When you're looking for the $46 billion - that's needed for this year - we see that, typically, humanitarian appeals go underfunded. And the private sector very often can contribute medicines, they can contribute with materials," Kanem added.

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