Bratislava, 4 June 2022 (TDI): EU Commission Vice President for Interinstitutional Relations, Maroš Šefčovič met Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, Olga Stefanishyna.

They discussed supporting Ukraine on its path toward the European Union. The discussions between them took place on the sidelines of this year’s GLOBSEC in Bratislava.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister appreciated the commitment as she highlighted in their discussions. Especially on the EU’s leadership as the international coordination platform for Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery.

EU’s support for Ukraine

Prior to the Russian war, the EU was eager to support Kyiv and create close ties. After the withdrawal from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has been eager to follow its own path. Also, to forge closer links with the rest of Europe.

In light of Ukraine-Russia relations, the EU condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The EU viewed the move as a violation of international law.

In December 2021, the MEPs also called on Russia to withdraw its forces threatening Ukraine. In a resolution adopted in April 2021, the European Parliament displayed serious concern about the large Russian military build-up at the border with Ukraine and in Crimea.

As a result, from 30 January to 1 February 2022, the Members of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Security and Defence subcommittee went on a mission to Ukraine to find facts.

After this, MEPs supported Ukraine in a debate on EU-Russia relations, on the 16th of February this year. Also, together with the political group leaders, Parliament President, Roberta Metsola delivered a statement on Ukraine’s situation.

On 22 February, leading MEPs condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk which are non-government-controlled areas.

Thereafter, on 24 February Russia started an attack on Ukraine and the EU responded with various sanctions against Russia and supported Ukraine.

Agreements and assistance

The European Parliament’s consent to the EU-Ukraine Association agreement was in September 2014, which contains a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement formed both political association and economic integration between Ukraine and the EU whilst providing for mutual free market access.

Moreover, it established ground rules for cooperation in areas of energy, transport, and education. Additionally, it required Ukraine to implement reforms and respect democratic principles, human rights, and the rule of law.

An agreement to exempt Ukrainian citizens from EU short-stay visa requirements was supported by the European Parliament in April 2017.

That is, Ukrainians that have a biometric passport are able to enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period. Namely, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, however not to work.

There are numerous initiatives meant to help Ukraine economically and since 2014 more than €17 billion in grants and loans have been organized by the EU. Together with financial institutions to support reforms in Ukraine.

Since 2015, more than 11,500 students from Ukraine have taken part in the EU’s Erasmus+ program.

Economically, the EU’s investment includes direct support to 100,000 small and medium-sized enterprises. As well as assistance to more than 10,000 firms in rural areas and funds to modernize public IT infrastructure.

From the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, the EU has financially mobilized above €190 million for Ukraine. In order to support immediate needs and socio-economic recovery and €1.2 billion in macro-financial assistance.

Lastly, the EU has provided more than 36 million items of personal protective equipment, ambulances, critical medical equipment, and training for health care staff.

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