Press statement by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis

after meeting with Mr Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine

Kyiv, 22 August 2021

 

Dear Prime Minister

Dear media representatives

 

First of all, I would like to thank to Prime Minister for a very productive meeting on a number of topics of interest to both Ukraine and the European Union.

First, I am glad to be here in Kyiv for celebration of 30 years of independence of Ukraine, as well as participation in Crimean Platform Summit.

During much of the last three decades, Ukraine has suffered from instability and political turbulence - and in the recent years form Russian military aggression. However, one thing is clear: Ukraine has successfully turned its back on the authoritarian past and made the transition to the democracy. Its achievements over the last 30 years are impressive.

The EU has been Ukraine’s most important international donor since independence. It has supported the post-Maidan reform agenda politically and economically – with a strong focus on structural and systemic reforms.

EU support includes macro-financial assistance, providing technical expertise; unilateral trade measures; development assistance and budget support, as well as financing for investment projects.

Today we discussed progress with Ukraine’s reform agenda, EU-Ukraine trade relations and EU support for Ukraine during the pandemic.

We are supporting Ukraine with an EU Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme of €1.2 billion. Its first tranche of €600 million was disbursed already in December last year. and today we discussed the disbursement of the second tranche, this is a clear sign of EU solidarity with Ukraine.

As regards second tranche the disbursement of the second tranche. This requires, first, the fulfilment of the eight structural policy measures to which Ukraine has committed and, and second, satisfactory progress with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ukraine has made significant efforts towards implementation of EU MFA assistance conditions and based on a preliminary analysis, we can consider conditions as broadly met. So I think it is a  great political achievement both by Prime Minister and by President Zelensky, so congratulations on this.

And today we discussed the importance of reforms also in the future. 

In the meeting with the Prime Minister and government representatives, I stressed that the anti-corruption efforts are highly important for the trust of the people, business and foreign investors.

In this context, EU welcomes the adoption by the Rada of the law re-establishing the High Qualification Commission of Judges and the law on the High Council of Justice in line with the recommendations of Venice Commission. This is crucial to ensure and strengthen independence and effective functioning of institutions, and avoid politicization of their work. And we welcome the approval in the first reading of the draft laws on corporate governance and on private enforcement officers.

As the disbursement of the EU MFA also requires the IMF programme being on track, I encourage the current Ukrainian authorities to solve the outstanding issues and achieve the agreement with the IMF as soon as possible.

We also discussed the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and noted good progress of the implementation in number of areas.

During  the first five years of application, our bilateral trade has grown by more than 50%, consolidating the EU’s position as Ukraine’s number one trading partner.

Our “deep and comprehensive” agreement means that its potential benefits go beyond just trade liberalisation. Increasingly aligning Ukraine’s regulatory framework to that of the EU can boost bilateral trade and increase Ukraine's global competitiveness.

We discussed how to enhance the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. It provides many opportunities for mutual benefit. But we also have to ensure the respect of the commitments that it contains. That will set the right political condition for the engagement on a rich common agenda that includes the reviews foreseen in the agreement as well as progress towards an Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products.

Once again, I would like to confirm that that Ukraine is an important strategic partner for the EU with the Association Agreement as the main driver for strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union.

The EU is also committed to further enhancing EU Ukraine sectoral cooperation. The Association Agreement is wide and can encompass new points of cooperation, such as the crosscutting issue of the European Green Deal.

To conclude I would like to acknowledge that Ukraine is one of the first non - EU countries to have the EU-compatible digital COVID certificate, which will simplify travel between Ukraine and the EU.

Dear Prime Minister,

You have my full support for an ambitious programme of implementation of the Association Agreement between EU and Ukraine. This is an important step to improve living standards for the Ukrainian people and to bring Ukraine closer to the EU.

Thank you.