During the EU-Ukraine Association Council in Brussels on 5 September, several important agreements for Ukraine were concluded.
The European Commission concluded an agreement to associate Ukraine to the Digital Europe Programme. From now on, Ukrainian businesses, organisations, and public administrations will be able to access the calls from the Digital Europe Programme with a €7.5 billion budget for the period 2021-2027.
In particular, Ukraine will be able to apply for funding and support for projects in key capacity areas: supercomputing, artificial intelligence, advanced digital skills, and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society, including through Digital Innovation Hubs. Moreover, to further help, Ukraine’s contribution to the Programme has been waived for the current year.
The EU and Ukraine have also signed two agreements which pave the way for Ukraine’s participation in the EU’s Customs and Fiscalis programmes. Fiscalis is the EU’s programme for cooperation in the field of taxation. Amongst other things, it allows tax administrations to work together in fighting tax fraud, evasion and aggressive tax planning.
The Customs programme helps customs administrations to deal more efficiently with increasing trade flows, emerging trends and technologies, and security threats. Ukraine’s participation in the Customs programme will also include connection to the common secure customs network (CCN/CSI), necessary for Ukraine to apply the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).
This connection is essential for Ukraine once it joins two transit Conventions (the EU-Common Transit Countries’ Convention on a Common Transit Procedure and the Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods) on 1 October. Ukraine received an official invitation during the Council in Brussels.
These Conventions enable goods to move much more easily between the EU and the Common Transit Countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and the UK). Simplified rules, such as mutually recognised financial guarantees and less controls, help to cut down on costs for EU and partner country businesses, while facilitating and boosting trade. As such, Ukraine’s participation in these Conventions will facilitate trade between Ukraine and EU Member States, as well as other common transit countries, and support the work on Solidarity Lanes to and from Ukraine.
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