Ukraine and the EU today signed a €500 million agreement of budget support to Ukraine during the 8th Association Council that took place in Brussels. The meeting – the first for Ukraine as a candidate country – was chaired by the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal. The EU High Representative Josep Borrell led the EU delegation.
The sides discussed the EU-Ukraine bilateral agenda, notably the implementation of the Association Agreement and state of play of EU-Ukraine cooperation, and the progress of Ukraine’s application for EU Membership.
According to Olivér Varhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, the additional budget support “should help the people of Ukraine to meet key challenges of housing, restarting education in schools, help internally displaced people and returnees, and consolidate the agriculture sector”.
The Commissioner also said that the Council had discussed the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU roaming zone – “not only for markets, but for people to be able to maintain contact”.
Oliver Varhelyi also said that Ukraine was recommended to concentrate on seven steps foreseen in the European Commission Opinion, including the strengthening of rule of law, fight against corruption and money laundering, and ensuring minority rights.
As EU officials noted at a press conference following the Council, relations between the EU and Kyiv have moved forward strongly despite Russian aggression against Ukraine.
“Putin wanted to occupy, to destroy and to colonise Ukraine. Instead he has been pushing Ukraine closer to the European Union. He could never imagine that six months after launching the war we will be in this situation: Ukraine closer to the EU, and the European Union strengthening its support to Ukraine,” said Josep Borrell. “We will continue to provide our support – political, financial, humanitarian and military – as long as it takes and as much as needed.”
Earlier today, Denis Shmyhal wrote on Twitter that the EU and Ukraine also signed agreements promoting Ukraine’s participation in the ‘Digital Europe’ programme, cooperation in customs and tax spheres, and increasing grants budget for Ukraine by €122 million.
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