Solidarity with Ukrainian people
Almost eight years after the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia launched on 24 February 2022 a large-scale military invasion of the whole country. The destruction and suffering is already devastating. More than 4 million people have fled to neighbouring countries and there are 6.48 million internal displaced persons within Ukraine (as of 4 April). Ukraine is bravely fighting for the survival of its democracy and national sovereignty.
The European Union and its partners are doing their outmost to help Ukraine and the last weeks have seen high levels of support and unprecedented political decisions. The EU has reacted swiftly, adopting four sets of unprecedented sanctions against Putin’s regime, and its collaborator, the Lukashenko regime.
The EU has also significantly stepped up its financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine. From the very outset, the European Commission activated €85 million in humanitarian assistance and €5 million for Moldova; €10 million for priority cybersecurity measures in Ukraine; €15 million for civil society organisations assisting communities and people affected by the attacks.
The EU provides help in keeping the Ukrainian government functional through the provision of cash injections to support basic expenditures. This includes an emergency macro-financial assistance package of €1.2 billion and €120 million budget support. The first tranche of €600 million of the macrofinancial assistance has been disbursed in two equal instalments, first one of €300 million paid on 11 March, and the second on 18 March.
In addition, the Council adopted assistance measures under the European Peace Facility worth €1 billion to purchase and deliver military equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and at least €550 million from the EU budget (including the Emergency support programme of €330 million) will deal with the immediate consequences of this tragic war, both in the country and for the refugees.
EU Member States and their citizens have shown impressive solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Each of us can contribute to support Ukraine and its citizens to face the destructions of war and displacement. Should you have any questions on how you can support Ukraine or what the EU is doing to help Ukraine, please contact us: EU-Assistance4Ukraine@ec.europa.eu.
What we do - Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA)
The European Commission - Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA)- together with the EU Delegation to Ukraine have been working relentlessly to coordinate support for Ukraine and rapidly mobilise emergency assistance to the country (apart from humanitarian aid and aid through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism):
a) By Re-purposing of ongoing projects
The EU Delegation to Ukraine is fully operational. It is currently re-purposing up to €200 million worth of ongoing projects to deliver emergency assistance to meet pressing needs of the Ukrainian population and authorities.
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, there were more than 200 EU-funded projects active in Ukraine across a wide range of sectors, regions and cities, supporting the country’s ambitious reform agenda.
Since the start of the war, the European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine together with the EU Delegation to Ukraine and EU projects working with Ukraine have reacted to the Russian aggression by rapidly repurposing their activities in the face of the humanitarian crisis and the massive displacement of populations.
Up to 200 million euros worth of EU funding initially foreseen for the work of the projects and as grant money has been rechanneled to thousands of activities providing much needed assistance to Ukraine during the war. These range from providing emergency aid, essential supplies, setting up shelters, providing medicines and medical equipment, tosupportingUkrainian refugees, civil society organisations, media outlets, entrepreneurs, civil servants and many vulnerable groups.
- The Pravo Justice II project is advising the Office of the Prosecutor General and other Ukrainian institutions on the investigation and documentation of war crimes, as well as providing advice to the Ukrainian government on developing legislation under martial law. Since the Russian invasion, the project has also supplied 1,700 tons of food to war-affected areas, as well as 20 tons of animal feed for pet shelters and zoos.
- A medical chatbot‘medbot Marta’ is a fast and convenient channel of communication between patients and doctors available on Telegram and Viber in Ukraine. Medbot Marta is in high demand during the war due to the lack of physical access to medical care. The EU supports the work of the East Europe Foundation, which is helping the application's team to work with doctors from Mariupol to make medical advice more accessible online.
- European Neighbourhood Instrument Cross-Border Cooperation projects working with Ukraine, especially those in Poland, have mobilised to assist refugees, setting up shelters, providing aid and medical assistance. Read more
- With the logistical support of the EU-funded U-LEAD with Europe team, emergency aid has been delivered to partner municipalities in western Ukraine, providing assistance to thousands of internally displaced people. Read more
- The e-Governance Academy continues its support for Ukraine within the EU4DigitalUA project and other projects supported by the EU. Their work focuses on strengthening Ukraine’s cybersecurity, the safety of Ukrainian public registers and databases, as well as support to various Ukrainian state bodies.
- Ukraine is one of the countries within the Collaborate for Impact project led by the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). Their partner SILab Ukraine is working hard to help Ukrainian companies overcome difficulties in times of war. They have recently launched a call for proposals for social enterprises through the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund.
- The EU-funded ‘EU4Business: SME Competitiveness and Internationalisation’ programme has continued to support Ukrainian SMEs during the war, with cooperation temporarily concentrated in the western regions of Ukraine. Activities aim to preserve jobs and support the Ukrainian economy, provide jobs for IDPs and women, and help SMEs to diversify their business models, including by digitalising products and services. Read more
- The SOS Rescue – the training centre for organising and operating cross-border rescue actions project, previously worked to increase the effectiveness of trans-border mountain rescue actions, setting up coordination and training centres on both sides of the border, and equipping partners with advanced rescue devices. While the project’s training centre in Poland has now been turned into an Emergency Centre for Ukraine, trainings planned under the project are continuing, last week beginning a specialised training to provide medical first aid.
- The EU4GenderEquality programme is responding to the emerging needs of women and men in Ukraine by providing support through civil society organisations in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Its cooperation partner UNFPA Ukraine is providing psychological counselling, crisis communication support and essentials to Ukrainian women from vulnerable groups.
- The EU-funded integrated border management programme has provided more than 100,000 ready to eat meals to Ukrainian defenders at the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.
- The European Endowment for Democracy has established with EU funding a centre for Ukrainian activists in Przemyśl in eastern Poland to serve as a working space for media and civic activists. The EED is also supporting Ukrainian civil society and independent media with rapid and flexible grants that are issued within 12 hours or less after the request is received.
- The EU together with WHO have delivered 20 tonnes of medical kits and surgical equipment to Ukraine to alleviate the great needs of the population suffering from Russia’s invasion.
- Together with UNDP Ukraine, the EU delivers food supplies to the hard-to-reach communities in Pryvillia, Kreminna and Nyzhnia Duvanka in the Luhansk oblast of Ukraine.
- Within days of the invasion, the European Investment Bank, in cooperation with the European Commission, prepared an emergency solidarity package for Ukraine. The package included €668 million in immediate assistance for the Ukrainian authorities.
- The EU is supporting the central government portal of Ukraine and the state hotline that provides information about assistance needs in Ukraine. Everyone wishing to provide humanitarian or financial assistance to Ukrainians can find relevant information on the platform or by calling to the hotline.
- Besides much-needed humanitarian assistance, the International Migration Organisation (IOM) in Ukraine provides displaced people with timely and up-to-date information with financial assistance from the EU. At border crossing points, the IOM team distributes leaflets on temporary protection in EU countries to refugees.
- The European Anti-Corruption Initiative provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine during the first weeks of the war and is now continuing to support national anti-corruption institutions and protect Ukrainian journalists that provide coverage of the war. Read more
- The EU-funded EU4Culture project is offering mobility grants for artists and cultural professionals from Ukraine. The call is open for internships, study visits, conferences, professional developments, and other activities that foster knowledge exchange and intercultural dialogue. Read more
- The Polish beneficiary of the EU-funded cross-border cooperation project ‘Rzeszów and Vynohradiv – animal-friendly cities’ (CBC4animals) is looking for new owners andsupport for shelter dogs fleeing the war in Ukraine. Read more
- The Romanian non-governmental organisations platform ‘FOND’ has launched the ‘SOS Ukraine! Humanity without borders’ campaign to help Ukrainian NGOs. The action aims at raising funds for the NGOs in Ukraine, which are long-standing partners of FOND and the EU-funded Black Sea NGO Forum. Read more
- Civil society in and outside Ukraine is at the forefront of mobilising aid and monitoring the situation on the ground. Many of them are members of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and are supported by the forum. Their activities include setting up shelters, providing aid, doing fact-checking, helping cultural NGOs and hosting Ukrainian freelancers. The forum also produces the Eastern Partnership Index that in its latest publication focused on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and their readiness to join the EU. Read more
- The East Europe Foundation has launched its Shelter Project for emergency assistance to all those who are leaving their homes and seeking shelter in safer areas of Ukraine. The project is aimed at supporting internally displaced persons and raising funds for their needs.
- The Mayors for Economic Growth programme is working with local authorities in Ukraine helping them develop a better emergency response that includes effective crisis management and timely provision of public services. Together with UNDP, the programme will strengthen the capacity of civil society to absorb and distribute humanitarian assistance.
b) €120 million State and Resilience Building Contract (SRBC) – Budget Support
As part of an emergency package for Ukraine announced on 24 January 2022, a €120 million grant in the form of a State and Resilience Building Contract was approved by the European Commission on 17 March. During her visit to Ukraine on 8 April, President von der Leyen announced the full disbursement of the €120 million grant. The programme aims at strengthening civilian crisis preparedness and management at both central and local levels, an area of utmost importance for Ukraine at present. This will contribute to continue addressing existing vulnerabilities against crises affecting the society as a whole, as well as critical infrastructure, including the transport network, information and communication systems.
c) Emergency support programme of €330 million
This support will contribute to strengthening Ukraine’s resilienceby increasing the capacity of the government, economic actors, independent media and civil society to withstand the impact of the war, and contribute to the recovery of the country. Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons and host communities will be a core part of the programme. Focus will be also placed on the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure, including digital and cybersecurity as well as energy and food security.
In addition to all the work on financial assistance, the European Commission is swiftly taking work forward on Ukraine’s application for EU membership. The European Council received it on 28 February and asked the European Commission to prepare an Opinion – also on Moldova and Georgia who followed a few days later. The Opinions will assess the merits of the applications against the EU accession criteria, notably the Copenhagen criteria [focusing on the political and economic criteria]. We cannot prejudge at this stage the content or timeframe of these Opinions.
The Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA) was established by decision of the President of the European Commission in April 2014. The European Commission supports political and economic reforms necessary to consolidate a democratic, independent, united and prosperous Ukraine.
SGUA was created as a Task Force to support Ukraine in the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU (including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area).
SGUA ensures that support provided by the European Commission – advice, expertise and financial cooperation drawn from across the services of the Commission – is focused and concentrated.
SGUA also helps to mobilise EU Member States' expertise and enhance strategic upstream coordination with other donors and the International Financing Institutions.
The Acting Head of SGUA is Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), who reports to the President of the European Commission and to the High Representative/Vice-President under the guidance of the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement.
Katarína Mathernová can be contacted through SGUA's functional email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The operational staff of the Support Group is drawn from a wide range of European Commission services, experts seconded from national administrations and contracted staff.
SGUA is made up of a number of thematic teams corresponding to the essential reform priorities set out in the Association Agreement. These teams cover areas such as governance and rule of law, justice and home affairs, economic governance, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, health, education, and communications.
The Support Group is divided in five sector teams, as follows:
Policy and Reform Coordination
Team Leader: Tanel TANG
Social-economic & Fiscal Reforms, Decentralisation
Team Leader: Julda KIELYTE
Green Deal, Energy, Environment, Agriculture, Transport
Team Leader: Marcus LIPPOLD
Governance and Rule of Law, Digital
Team Leader: Frank PAUL
Team Leader: Pier Luca LEPRI
SGUA is based in Brussels and can be contacted by email: SGUA@ec.europa.eu
Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU.
With the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA) including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) signed in 2014 and in force since 2017 after being provisionally applied, our relations have with Ukraine achieved an unprecedented level of closeness. The AA/DCFTA is the blueprint for Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda kicked off with the 2013-2014 Maidan and for the EU’s support. It is based on shared values and commitment to respect for democratic principles, the rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Our common goal is further economic integration and political association between Ukraine and the EU. In order to achieve that, the EU supports Ukraine through a variety of instruments.
Overall, since 2014, the EU and Financial Institutions (European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) have allocated over €17 billion in grants and loans to help Ukraine stabilise its economy, carry out comprehensive reforms, to improve the lives of its citizens as well as to mitigate the consequences of the conflict in the country’s eastern regions. This has included substantial bilateral financial and technical assistance under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (over €1.565 billion for the period 2014-2020).
Our partnership has been built on the principle that as long as Ukraine keeps reforming at an unprecedented level, the EU keeps supporting at an unprecedented level. The Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021-2027will continue the bilateral assistance to Ukraine under the “Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe” (NDICI-Global Europe). A Multi-annual Indicative Programme for the 7 years would prioritize areas of economy, rule of law, climate resilience, digital transformation, support to civil society and response to conflict. The indicative bilateral budget for the period 2021-2024 is €640 million.
In addition, EU support will be underpinned by an Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership in grants, blending and guarantees, mobilising €1.5 billion for Ukraine, with a potential to leverage up to €6.5 billion in public and private investments. The Plan identified five flagship initiatives for Ukraine to support in particular SMEs, rural areas,connectivity, digital transformation and energy efficiency.
The EU bilateral support to Ukraine is coordinated by the European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA). Together with the EU Delegation to Ukraine, SGUA has developed support programmes for key reform areas (e.g. for decentralisation, the fight against corruption or strengthening the rule of law) which are often co-financed and implemented by EU Member States. The EU also supports the Ukrainian civil society through grants from different financial instruments, through contributions to the European Endowment for Democracy and a steady dialogue that informs our policymaking.
Ukraine benefits from Twinning and TAIEX, and, besides the bilateral support, from regional and multi-country programmes for the Eastern Partnership countries. In addition to the Chornobyl Shelter Fund, support is provided via the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC II) 2014-2020.
Ukraine has gained access to different European Union programmes. It has become, for instance, the frontrunner of Erasmus+ among the Eastern Partnership countries. Ukraine is also associated to several EU programmes: the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation; the Euratom Research and Training programme; and the Creative Europe programme supporting the cultural, creative and audio-visual sectors.
Furthermore, the EU mobilised via five programmes a total of €5.61 billion in Macro-Financial Assistance for Ukraine, paid upon the fulfilment of reform conditions. Most recently, Ukraine benefited from €1.2 billion fourth MFA programme, which was part of the emergency crisis MFA package to help the neighbourhood countries to limit the economic fallout of the Covid pandemic. The first tranche of €600 million was disbursed on 9 December 2020 and the second of €600 million on 25 October 2021.
The EU has helped Ukraine deal with the humanitarian, social and economic consequences of the conflict in the eastern regions, providing €986 million since the start of the conflict. Since 2017, a €50 million programme for eastern Ukraine supports good governance and decentralisation, economic revitalisation, community security, social cohesion, health care, displaced universities and infrastructure. In 2019, the programme was topped-up by €10 million and expanded to the Sea of Azov. In 2020, the EU adopted a follow-up €30 million EU4Resilient Regions programme. It targets social capital, human security and information integrity in particularly vulnerable regions. The programme is also part of the EU’s COVID-19 response for Ukraine. The EU furthermore provides support for early recovery and co-funds the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, to which the EU and its Member States have been the biggest contributor so far, providing about two thirds of both the mission's budget and monitors.
Large investments have been channelled to Ukraine via the EU External Investment Plan, notably the Neighbourhood Investment Platform, by pooling grant resources from the EU budget and the EU Member States and using them to leverage loans from European Financial Institutions. Since 2014, over EUR 244 million have been mobilised through the NIP to Ukraine in fields such as transport connectivity and greening, energy efficiency, support to SMEs, municipal infrastructure and local currency lending, as well as funding for alleviating the economic consequences of Covid-19. Furthermore, the implementation of the flagship initiatives identified under the Economic and Investment Plan has started, with for example the signature of loan agreements in 2021 to make public buildings more energy efficient, and to step up EBRD lending to SMEs.
Loans amounting to €5.94 billion have been mobilised by the European Investment Bank (EIB) since 2014 and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has currently ongoing investments worth more than €4 billion. (Note: mobilisation of loans does not necessarily mean disbursement as this depends on the degree of maturity of projects).
Via the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, Ukraine-based international experts mainly from EU Member States assist the country since December 2014 with the reform of the civilian security sector, including in the fight against corruption. Its mandate was extended until May 2024.
- NDICI-GEO-NEAR/2022/ACT-60707 - Action Document for State and Resilience Building Contract for Ukraine
- ANNEX - Modification of the Action Documents annexed to the Decisions listed in the Amending Decision
- NDICI-GEO-NEAR/2021/043-027 - Technical Cooperation Facility 2021
- NDICI-GEO-NEAR/2021/043-029 - Media Development and Countering Disinformation Facility Ukraine (EU4Media Democracy)
- NDICI-GEO-NEAR/2021/043-030 - EU4PAR - Continued support to comprehensive reform of public administration in Ukraine
- NDICI-GEO-NEAR/2021/043-032 - EU Support to development of Integrated Border Management and Migration in Ukraine (EU4IBM)
- ENI/2020/042-816/1 - Action Document for EU 4 Resilient Regions
- ENI/2020/042-796/2 - Action Document for Civil Society Facility Ukraine
- ENI/2020/042-818/3 - Action Document for Climate package for a sustainable economy: (CASE)
- ENI/2019/041726/Annex 1 - Action Document for the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine (Phase II)
- ENI/2019/041703/Annex 2 - Action Document for U-LEAD with Europe: Phase II
- ENI/2019/041724/Annex 3 - Action Document for Support to civil society and culture
- ENI/2019/041718/Annex 4 - Action Document for Technical Cooperation Facility 2019
- ENPI 2012/023714/Support to EU-Ukraine Agreements
- ENPI 2012/023684/Migration and Asylum Management
- ENPI 2012/023716/E5P
- ENPI 2010/021849/Support to Justice sector
- ENPI 2010/ 021851/Joint Cooperative Initiative in Crimea
- ENPI 2010/021850/Community Based Approach-Phase II
- ENPI 2010/022315/Twinning and ENP Technical Assistance Support
- ENPI 2010/022000/5Es Partnership Fund