The EU is working on the creation of solidarity lines for the export of grain from Ukraine, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has said.
She has said that 20 million tonnes of wheat are stuck in Ukraine and must be taken out. Therefore, they have created and are working hard on solidarity lines that will make it possible to take out batches of this wheat through land routes and trains to their ports. This is not trivial and, of course, more tiring and more expensive, but it is necessary to take this grain out, von der Leyen said at a press conference following the Special Meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says that Ukraine expects to join the common customs area with the European Union within a month.
“We are grateful for the provision by Slovakia of extremely needed military assistance and for humanitarian assistance, which covers almost all areas,” Shmyhal was quoted by the government press service as a result of a meeting in Kyiv with President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Chaputova on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister noted that Ukraine expects to become a full member of the European family.
“Slovakia is one of the largest advocates of Ukraine in the European Union. We appreciate the initiative to unite with our friends to advance the granting of Ukraine the status of an EU candidate. We are grateful for such support,” he said.
The Prime Minister stressed that Ukraine has fulfilled more than 70% of the Association Agreement with the EU.
“We have an ambitious goal of joining the NCTS, the Common Customs Space, within a month. We are ready for all challenges and Denis Shmigal is ready.
Chaputova, for her part, noted that Slovakia had a recent experience of integration into the EU and her country would support Ukraine on this path.
The Council of the European Union (EU) has adopted a regulation allowing for temporary trade liberalisation and other trade concessions with regard to certain Ukrainian products.
“We proposed it as a temporary measure, and it will make it easier for Ukraine to continue trading in the face of Russia’s aggression and will provide overall support to the Ukrainian economy,” Executive Deputy Chairman of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said, commenting on the decision adopted by the EU Council on Tuesday.
The decision will suspend tariffs, which are still in place under the 2017 the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine establishing a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA), which liberalized much of the trade.
The suspension covers notably: industrial products subject to duty phase out by the end of 2022, fruits and vegetables subject to the entry-price system, and agricultural products and processed agricultural products subject to tariff-rate quotas, the collection of anti-dumping duties on imports originating in Ukraine, and the application of the common rules for imports with respect of imports originating in Ukraine.
The European Commission’sproposal has already been approved by the European Parliament, the law will enter into force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
Dombrovskis also said that the ministers of economy and finance of the EU countries discussed the European Commission’s proposal for short-term relief and long-term reconstruction, and more specifically, our proposal for an exceptional macro-financial assistance programme of EUR 9 billion. He said that “there was broad – in fact unanimous – support for a continued need to provide necessary support to Ukraine to face this aggression.”
Prime Minister Denis Shmygal says that by the end of the year Ukraine plans to expand the capabilities of Ukrainian energy companies, and will be able to export to the European Union about 800 MW of electricity per day.
“In mid-March, Ukraine joined the European network ENTSO-E ahead of schedule… Ukraine is already exporting its electricity to Europe,” Shmygal told a government meeting on Tuesday.
According to the Prime Minister, in April, electricity exports to Poland increased by 35% compared to pre-war January.
“By the end of the year, we plan to expand the capabilities of Ukrainian energy companies, and will be able to export to the EU about 800 MW of electricity per day. This will help Europe to abandon the consumption of Russian coal and reduce the consumption of Russian gas, “he said.
The Council of European Union has adopted two assistance measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) that will allow the EU to further support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and protect the civilian population against the ongoing Russian military aggression.
“After having adopted three tranches of support totaling EUR 1.5 billion this year, a fourth tranche will add EUR 500 million to the resources already mobilised under the EPF for Ukraine, thereby bringing the total amount to EUR 2 billion, ” the press service of the EU Council said.
“The history of tomorrow is being written today, on the battlefields of Ukraine. With these EUR 500 million, the EU has allocated a total EUR 2 of billion to support EU member states’ supplies of military equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This support is just one part of European efforts to help Ukraine defend itself. The EU and its member states are determined to continue. We have done it since the beginning of the war and we will continue until the end,” Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said.
It is noted that the scope of the equipment to be provided in the new support package is in line with the current priorities as expressed by the Ukrainian government. In this light, the assistance measures consist of EUR 490 million for military equipment designed to deliver lethal force for defensive purposes, as well as EUR 10 million intended to cover the provision of equipment and supplies, such as personal protective equipment, first aid kits, and fuel.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky rejected possible alternatives to EU candidate status and called not to compare Ukraine with other countries that have received this status.
“We do not need alternatives to EU membership. We do not need compromises. These will not be compromises with Ukraine, this will be another compromise between Europe and Russia, “he said in Kyiv on Saturday after talks with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
“For me, EU candidacy is an important signal. An important signal for our people, who defend their country and European values. I think this is a very important step. I understand that many countries have come a long way – years in terms of application and years in terms of membership, “said the President of Ukraine.
“It is incorrect to compare us with countries that have passed the peaceful path of candidacy. We are going through a war for freedom and independence, for these European values. We are not only wasting time. We lose people. I really want to believe that Portugal will also be on this side of the world, “Zelensky stressed.