Business news from Ukraine

Uzbekistan and European Union establish strategic partnership in field of critical raw materials

On April 5, Uzbekistan and the European Union signed a memorandum of understanding that launched a strategic partnership to develop sustainable value chains in the field of critical raw materials.

The memorandum was visualized in Belgium by Laziz Kudratov, Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan, and Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission.

The EU notes that Uzbekistan has the second largest reserves of critical raw materials in Central Asia: copper, molybdenum and gold.

“This agreement marks a significant step towards securing diversified and sustainable supplies of critical raw materials for the transition to green and digital technologies, both in the European Union and in Uzbekistan,” the statement said.

Critical raw materials are minerals that are of great economic importance to the European Union. Such raw materials include 34 types of metals, minerals and other natural materials, 17 of which are strategically important: copper, lithium, aluminum, titanium, platinum, graphite, nickel, cobalt and others.

The strategic partnership, according to the memorandum, focuses on the following areas of cooperation:

Integration of sustainable value chains for critical raw materials, including through networking, pre-qualification of project proposals, joint project development, and promotion and facilitation of trade and investment links along the entire value chain;
Increasing the supply of critical raw materials and establishing a dialogue to increase transparency in investment, operations, and exports;
Attracting financing for projects implemented under the partnership, as well as developing clean energy supply, but not limited to;
Cooperation in the field of research and innovation, including the exchange of knowledge and technology related to sustainable exploration, production, processing and reuse of critical raw materials, etc.

“This agreement with natural resource-rich Uzbekistan will help the EU secure much-needed access to critical raw materials. For Uzbekistan, this will be a major boost to its ambitions to diversify its economy and sustainably develop its extractive industry,” said Valdis Dombrovskis.

The partnership is in line with the Global Gateway strategy, the EU’s key initiative to invest in sustainable projects around the world, taking into account the needs of partner countries and providing long-term benefits to them, through which the EU will mobilize up to €300 billion by 2027.

The next step after the signing of the memorandum will be the joint work of the European Union and Uzbekistan to create an operational roadmap with concrete actions.

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European Commission has paid first EUR4.5 bln from fund totaling EUR50 bln

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell says that the European Commission has paid the first EUR4.5bn from the Ukrainian fund totaling EUR50bn.

He made the announcement on Wednesday in Brussels at a press conference at the end of the EU-Ukraine Association Council.

“Today we made the first disbursement of EUR4.5bn from the EUR50bn Ukrainian Aid Fund to support Ukraine’s recovery, reconstruction and modernization. Tomorrow the European Council will discuss how to further accelerate Ukraine’s accession (to the EU),” Borrell said.

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Ukraine is ready to extend Russian gas transit at initiative of European Union countries

Ukraine is ready to extend the transit of Russian gas through its gas transportation system (GTS) at the initiative of the European Union countries, but will not extend the current contract or sign a new one with Gazprom, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said at a press conference in Kiev on Monday.

“We are certainly not going to negotiate with the aggressor country to extend (the transit contract) and put our signatures under the agreement, but we have had repeated talks with European leaders on the basis of the European Commission. If European countries will act as a consortium or one of the European partners will act as a transit company for its own gas, we are ready to provide such a service. Here the initiative is on the side of the EU and our European partners,” he said.

“Group, association, consortium… It could be the EC, a group of European countries that are interested in preserving transit,” Shmygal specified.

At the same time, according to the Prime Minister, the GTS of Ukraine is ready to function without the transit of Russian natural gas.

As reported, the transit of Russian natural gas through the gas transportation system (GTS) of Ukraine in 2023 decreased by 28.4% (by 5 billion 812.6 million cubic meters) compared to 2022 – to 14 billion 646.6 million cubic meters.

The contract between Naftohaz Ukrainy and Gazprom for the organization of transportation, the transportation agreement between NAK and OGTSU, as well as the inter-operator agreement between OGTSU and Gazprom were signed on December 30, 2019. The contract provides for transit of 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year in 2021-2024.

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Ukraine has received 1.5 bln euros of macrofinancial aid from the European Union

Ukraine has received 1.5 billion euros of macro-financial aid from the European Union, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said.

“Thus, the total budgetary support from the European Union this year reached 18 billion euros. These funds help us to maintain economic sustainability and fulfill social obligations,” Shmygal wrote in his Telegram channel.

He also thanked the EU for the weighty and timely assistance to Ukraine and expressed hope for further support.

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Ukrainian parliament appeals to EU to start negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to European Union

The Verkhovna Rada has appealed to the European Union member states and EU institutions to support the opening of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. The relevant resolution No. 10315 was voted for by 292 MPs at the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday, said Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of the European Solidarity faction.
“The Verkhovna Rada appeals to the national parliaments and governments of the European Union member states, the EU institutions and calls… to support Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union by adopting a decision to open negotiations on Ukraine’s membership in the European Union during the European Council meeting on December 15, 2023,” the text of the appeal reads.
The MPs also called on EU members to increase military assistance to Ukraine both at the national level and within the framework of the European Peace Fund.

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European Union extends temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine until March 2025

The European Union has approved the decision to extend temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine until March 4, 2025, the European Commission said.
“On September 27, 2023, ministers reached a political agreement to extend temporary protection for Ukrainian nationals until March 4, 2025. The decision was taken on October 19, 2023,” the European Commission said in a statement on its official website on Thursday.
The EU activated the Temporary Protection Directive on March 4, 2022. This is an EU mechanism that is activated in exceptional circumstances of mass influx to provide collective protection to displaced persons and reduce pressure on the national asylum systems of EU countries.
According to the EC, a total of 4.1 million refugees from Ukraine are registered for temporary protection or similar schemes in the EU.