22 Apr 2020 19:08

EU extends 1.2 bln euros to Ukraine to deal with Covid-19 pandemic - Zelensky

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax) - The European Commission has announced its decision to extend 1.2 billion euros in macrofinancial aid to Ukraine to support its efforts to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

"This macrofinancial aid is unprecedented in its volume. The EU's decision is not only a manifestation of solidarity in hard times. This also shows that Ukraine didn't err when it made a European choice. After all, a friend in need is a friend indeed," the presidential press service quoted Zelensky as saying on Wednesday.

The EU's assistance will help guarantee Ukraine's macroeconomic stability, he said.

"Owing to this support, the state will be able to free up extra resources to protect its citizens and mitigate the pandemic's negative effects for the people," the press service quoted him as saying.

The European Commission said in a statement: "The Commission has adopted a proposal for a €3 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) package to ten enlargement and neighborhood partners to help them to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic."

"It represents an important demonstration of the EU's solidarity with these countries at a time of unprecedented crisis," it said.

The European Commission's proposal has yet to be endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

"The European Commission expects swift adoption, taking into account the urgency of the problem. As soon as this happens, the first installment may be extended swiftly, without any extra terms. The second installment may be disbursed after the implementation of a list of indicators agreed upon with the EU as early as in the fourth quarter of 2020 or in the first half of 2021. As is the case with the EU's regular macrofinancial aid, the installments will also depend on a partner country's good progress in implementing the IMF program and using its resources," the presidential press service said.

The European Commission had earlier decided to extend 190 million euros to Ukraine to support its healthcare system, its economy, small and medium-sized businesses, to protect its vulnerable groups. The EU has also allotted 13 million euros for humanitarian needs in Donbas.