The EU swats a gadfly

[Yves Herman/Reuters]

For political cynics, the European Union has long been an easy target. The size and scale of its ambitions and the continual overproduction of bureaucratic absurdities offer ample opportunity for derision - inside Europe and beyond. But a February 1 summit meeting to hash out member-state differences over a multi-year EU funding package for Ukraine reminds us again that on priority issues the EU works far more effectively than conventional wisdom and Euroskeptic populists suggest. 

February's success was not inevitable. A meeting in December meant to provide Ukraine with a €50 billion EU aid package ended in acrimony when serial political blackmailer Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, vetoed a plan that required unanimous support from all 27 EU member-states. Kyiv needs that money to help pay pensions, salaries and other costs over the next four years as Ukraine fights...

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