Trilateral negotiations of the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine on Russian gas transit via Ukraine after 2019 may begin in early July, according to European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic. “Time is a precious commodity. I hope to start working with Russia and Ukraine on the trilateral gas agenda in early July,” he wrote on Twitter. “Complex negotiations ahead,” Sefcovic wrote. He said in late May that the objective of these negotiations will be to determine details of gas transit via Ukraine after 2019 and guarantees of such transit.
The State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) and the European Commission (EU) signed the Copernicus Cooperation Arrangement formalizing plans to develop cooperation under the Copernicus Earth observation programme.
The EU delegation to Ukraine said that under the Arrangement signed in line with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership, SSAU would provide full, free and open access to space monitoring data from its Earth remote sensing satellites, as well as to geophysical and meteorological data of regional observatories to the Copernicus programme.
According to the document, it is planned to boost cooperation between SSAU, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) in the sphere of collection and use of data of space monitoring from European Sentinel satellites of the Copernicus programme.
Under the Arrangement, the sides would promote cooperation in processing space monitoring data for joint use in the following areas: long-term management of natural resources, monitoring of marine and coastal zones, water resources management, the impact of climate change and adaptation to them, disaster risk reduction, food security and rural development, and health management issues.
Each side will fund its own activities under the programme and adhere to the principle of ‘no exchange of funds.’ The National Center Of Space Facilities Control And Test would coordinate the programme in Ukraine.
The flow of agricultural goods between Ukraine and the European Union (EU) in January-March 2018 totaled $2.2 billion, according to a posting on the website of the Institute of Agrarian Economy research center. Deputy Director of the center Mykola Puhachev said that the surplus was $845 million. “In Q1 2018, both imports grew by 27%, to $669 million and exports by 15%, to $1.513 billion year-over-year,” he said.
The largest trade partners of Ukraine in the EU are Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Germany and France, with the total share of the agricultural goods flow of over 72%. According to the report, grain and oilseeds, as well as sunflower oil and meal provide for the main volumes of supplies from Ukraine to Europe.
Ukraine imports mainly grain, oilseeds, cacao beans and chocolate, various food, waste of processing industry, spirit and alcohol.
Puhachev said that in January-March 2018, Ukrainian exporters fully used duty free quotas for what, corn, honey, apple and grape juices, malt, the quarterly quota for poultry and the half-year quota for butter. For other food the average usage of quotas is rather low.
“In 2018, the quotas for some goods are growing as it was planned, in particular, sugar, starch, juices, barley cereal, wheat, corn, lamb meat and other products. In addition, preferential quotas for eight goods are in effect for Ukraine: honey, grape juice, barley cereal, preserved tomatoes, oats, wheat, corn and barley,” the expert said.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli has recalled the importance of continuing the fight against corruption to attract foreign investment in Ukraine. If we want to create the necessary jobs, we need an economic growth of 5-6%. You need to attract foreign investors for this … To do this, you need to achieve more progress in the fight against corruption and the rule of law, he said during a round table talk titled “Ukraine’s European Choice after the Revolution of Dignity: Opportunities and Problems” in Kyiv.
The European diplomat stressed the need to establish an Anti-Corruption Court in accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission.
We know that much has already been done and still needs to be done in the sphere of the rule of law. And we are currently discussing with the Ukrainian authorities the creation of an Anticorruption Court as soon as possible, which would correspond to the recommendations of the Venice Commission, the diplomat added.
Mingarelli also noted the need to harmonize the Ukrainian legislation with the European one.
According to him, the EU considers the law on the land market as important for realizing the potential of the Ukrainian agricultural sector.
Head of the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative Eka Tkeshelashvili has said she is convinced that without an Anti-Corruption Court the system of fighting corruption in Ukraine cannot be as effective as possible and justify all expectations. She said in an interview with the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that the Anti-Corruption Court is a key link in the fight against corruption and that the need to create it in full accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission had been repeatedly stressed by European partners.
Tkeshelashvili noted that the recommendations of the Venice Commission still remain a “stumbling block” in the drafting of a respective bill for second reading.
This is not just any wish on the part of Ukraine’s partners, this is a well-balanced vision of what elements must be included in this law so that the court could be really independent, effective and fulfill its role, she said.
Tkeshelashvili stressed that the fight against corruption was important, including to ensure security in Ukraine.
Ukraine in January-March 2018 increased goods flow with the European Union (EU) countries by 17.7% year-over-year, to $8.581 billion, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has said on its website. The central bank said that both exports grew by 26.5%, to $4.058 billion and imports rose by 10.7%, to $4.523 billion. The deficit of balance of trade with the EU narrowed to $465 million from $878 million.
In addition, goods flow with Russia grew by 14.9%, to $2.615 billion. Imports rose by 28.4%, to $1.906 billion, while exports fell by 10.1%, to $0.709 billion. The deficit of balance of trade with Russia grew to $1.197 billion from $692 million.
The share of goods flow between Ukraine and the EU of total Ukraine’s foreign trade in January-March 2018 grew to 37.7% from 35.3% and with Russia to 11.5% from 11%.
In general, exports of goods from Ukraine in January-March 2018 grew by 10.4%, to $22.782 billion, imports – by 11.9%, to $12.359 billion and exports – by 8.6%, to 410.423 billion.