31 Jan 2023 22:00

EC, Ukrainian ministers to discuss cooperation, aid in Kiev

BRUSSELS. Jan 31 (Interfax) - Deeper sectoral cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine will be top of the agenda of a joint meeting between the European Commission (EC) and the Ukrainian government in Kiev later this week.

A European official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told journalists on Tuesday that this will be a very special mission because everyone is aware of the security situation and the various restrictions associated with a trip to Ukraine.

He said some details of the Kiev trip by EC President Ursula von der Leyen and several EU executives were classified and not to be disclosed, including details of the program of the meeting, which will be timed to coincide with a Ukraine-EU summit slated for later this week.

For von der Leyen, this will be her fourth visit to Ukraine since the events in February last year, the official said. The meeting will focus on the deepening of sectoral cooperation between the EU and Ukraine, he said.

He said the program includes a plenary conference among the EU commissioners who will be on that trip, and bilateral meetings with relevant Ukrainian government ministers. They will review the current state of EU assistance for Ukraine and outline future steps.

The agenda will include financial, humanitarian and budget assistance, the implementation of sanctions, the implementation of the association agreement and the comprehensive and enhanced trade agreement, Ukraine's next steps towards reform and the further process of aligning the country's laws with those of the EU, the official said.

With regard to financial assistance, the discussion will involve current projects, such as the recently granted first tranche of the package, at 18 billion euro, in macro-financial aid for Ukraine. Thereafter the assistance will be arriving in portions and the sides will discuss in substance the spending priorities for 2023 depending on circumstances on the ground, the EU official said.

With regard to the EU membership process, the discussion will focus primarily on reforms in the area of rule in law and combatting corruption, he said, while dodging the press' questions as to the purported and proposed deadlines for Ukraine joining the EU.

The agenda of the meetings will involve rebuilding Ukraine's economy and infrastructure, the official said. The EU has already made a big commitment and intends to play the central role. A multilateral donor committee co-chaired by the EU, U.S. and Ukraine, met last week for the first time and formed relevant agencies, he said.

An important place on Ukraine's path into the EU is the country's rapprochement with the EU market, he said. This includes the further removal of barriers to entry for goods and services and harmonizing national legislations on telecommunications, financial services, product safety, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, the official said.