The European Union (EU) has invested EUR 1 billion in vaccine research and EUR 2.9 billion in expanding production capacity, the press service of the German Embassy in Kyiv said. “The study now needs support to protect the world from new strains of viruses. At the same time, Germany is also helping within the EU. The EU has already invested EUR 1 billion in vaccine research and EUR 2.9 billion in expanding production capacity,” the message reads.
The press service noted that the rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19 became possible thanks to international scientific cooperation.
“One example is the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, which was the first to be registered in the EU. The German married couple of researchers Ozlem Tureci and Professor Ugur Sahin and their team developed a vaccine in Germany in a very short time with funding from the federal government,” the press service said.
Ukraine, as a European country, has the right to become a member of the EU, but must first fulfill the Association Agreement and the reform program, a high-ranking European official has said.
“We are linked with Ukraine by the Association Agreement signed in 2014, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement, and now we must do everything possible to make it a success story,” he said, announcing the participation of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in a videoconference of EU foreign ministers.
He noted that this agreement has a huge potential in terms of the economy and social development of Ukraine, while Brussels and Kyiv should focus their efforts on its implementation.
“Ukraine is a European country and in this capacity it can become a member of the EU,” he told journalists.
“But this is not what is on the agenda right now. Today we are talking about the implementation of the Association Agreement, about holding reforms, about things that usually precede the process of joining the union,” the official said.
He said that on Monday Kuleba will join the video meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU countries and will talk with them for about an hour.
“The Ukrainian army has been constantly on alert for seven years, Ukraine spends 6% of its GDP on defense, which it more needs on other budget items,” the official stressed.
In his opinion, Ukraine will be able to move forward, overcoming the conflict in the east of the country and actively pursuing reforms. At the same time, the EU is ready to provide financial and economic support to Kyiv.
“We will continue to do this, because we see this as the only possible way to ensure that Ukraine is a truly independent, sovereign country,” the EU official said.
The European Union (EU) is confident that Ukraine, as a European country, has the right to be a member of the community, but now the issue of reforms is on the agenda.
This is how a European diplomat commented on the prospects for Ukraine’s membership in the EU on Friday in Brussels. He said that what the EU has with Ukraine is the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and what the EU is seriously investing in now is to make this agreement a success. It has huge potential for the economy, for the social development of Ukraine, he said.
At the same time, the European diplomat is confident that Ukraine is a European country, and as a European country it has the opportunity of joining the EU.
But this is not what is now on the agenda, he said. Now it is about the implementation of this agreement, it is about reforms, about what precedes accession, he said.
Most Ukrainians believe that Ukraine needs to join the European Union. This is evidenced by the results of a survey conducted by the Razumkov Center in March 2021. Ukraine’s accession to the European Union is supported by 59% of respondents, while 26% are of the opposite opinion. The share of those who support EU accession exceeds the share of those who adhere to the opposite point of view in the west (84% and 8.5%, respectively) and in the center of the country (63% and 19%, respectively). In the east, there are slightly more of those who believe that there is no need to join (38.5% and 46%, respectively), and in the south, the shares of the former and the latter do not differ statistically significantly (41.5% and 42%, respectively).
Accession to the European Union is mainly supported by young people (76% “for” in the age group from 18 to 29 years old, some 44% “for” among respondents over 60). At the same time, in all age groups, the share of those who support accession to the EU exceeds the share of those who oppose it.
In the event of a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, some 59% of those polled (80% of those who intend to take part in the referendum) voted in favor of joining, and, respectively, 26% and 17% were against. At the same time, among fans of joining the European Union, some 96% of those polled expressed their readiness to vote in the referendum, and among opponents some 46%.
The share of those who intend to vote for accession to the EU exceeds the share of those who intend to vote against in the western (84% and 8%, respectively) and in the central regions (64% and 18%, respectively). In the eastern regions, there are slightly more of those who are going to vote against joining (39% and 46%, respectively), and in the south, the shares of the former and the latter are the same (42% each).
Among respondents aged 18 to 29 years, some 75% intend to vote for accession to the European Union, among respondents over 60 years old some 44%.
Among the representatives of the electorate of the European Solidarity party some 91% intend to vote for joining the European Union (against some 5%). Among the respondents who intend to vote for the Servant of the People party at the parliamentary elections were 78% and 13%, respectively, for the Batkivschyna party some 60% and 21%, respectively. At the same time, the overwhelming majority among the representatives of the electorate of the Opposition Platform – For Life party would vote against 15% and 73%, respectively.
The share of those who believe that relations between Ukraine and the EU will improve is highest in the western region (34.5%), lower in the central (27.5%) and lowest in the southern (22%) and eastern (17.5%) regions. In the same regional sequence, the share of those who believe that they will worsen is growing (4%, 6%, 15% and 21%, respectively). Optimism is more often expressed by representatives of young people (34% among respondents from 18 to 29 years old, some 19% among respondents over 60 years old).
The research was conducted by the sociological service of the Razumkov Center from March 5 to March 9, 2021 using the method of face-to-face interviews at the place of residence of the respondents. A total of 2018 respondents aged 18 and over were interviewed in all regions of Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, according to a sample representing the adult population in terms of basic social and demographic indicators. The theoretical sampling error (excluding the design effect) does not exceed 2.3% with a probability of 0.95.
The EU Council decided to extend for another year, until March 6, 2022, sanctions in the form of freezing assets for seven persons identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds.
The corresponding decision was published on Thursday. “The Council today decided to prolong for one more year, until March 6, 2022, the existing asset freezes directed against seven individuals identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds or for the abuse of office causing a loss to Ukrainian public funds. The restrictive measures against one person were prolonged until September 6, 2021, and those against two persons were not extended,” the statement said.
The EU Council noted that this decision was taken on the basis of the annual review of the measures, with the subsequent publication in the Official Journal on March 5, 2021.
The names of those, in respect of which the sanctions were not extended, were not indicated. Initially, there were 18 people in the sanction list.
The European Union will support vaccination against coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in Ukraine with project worth EUR 40 million to provide critical assistance to ensure local readiness and preparedness for safe and effective vaccination of the population in each of the six Eastern Partnership countries, according to a press release from the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
“The European Union [EU] and the WHO Regional Office for Europe will work together in a major effort to support deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in Ukraine. The project, funded by the EU and implemented by the Regional Office, will cover all phases – constituting ‘end-to-end’ support – of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and vaccination. It will also serve as a major investment to strengthen routine immunization system,” a press release, posted on the delegation’s website on Thursday, said.
The project will be implemented by WHO over a three-year period as part of a EUR 40 million European Union-funded initiative to support the Eastern Partnership countries in preparing for, deploying and monitoring the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The European Union has stood by Ukraine since the onset of the pandemic. We have provided medical equipment like oxygen concentrators for its hospitals and protective equipment for its frontline workers; we have supported Ukraine’s small businesses and cultural industry with access to finance; and we have mobilised protection for vulnerable groups like conflict-affected people and women whose livelihoods and personal safety were at risk during the lockdown. The WHO has been a key partner for the EU and now that vaccination is becoming accessible, we are happy to continue working hand in hand to ensure Ukraine is ready to receive and deploy vaccines,” Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said.
“Thanks to support of the European Union and the World Health Organization we will be able to effectively and coherently carry out all stages of vaccination provided by the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan against COVID-19. It is possible to stop the pandemic in Ukraine and in the world only by joint efforts, so we are grateful to our partners for their help and unity for the common goal of overcoming COVID-19,” Chief Sanitary Doctor, Deputy Health Minister of Ukraine Viktor Liashko said.
Dr. Jarno Habicht, the WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, said: “Vaccines offer hope and protection to those fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic and to those at highest risk. Thanks to this generous support and collaboration with European Union, WHO can scale up its efforts to support Ukraine to ensure that vaccines can reach those who need them most, as soon and as efficiently as possible. Our joint and multi-year actions will support COVID vaccine deployment and vaccination in Ukraine, as well strengthens overall immunisation programme in medium term.”
The funds are reported to be used initially to support the first phase of preparation and deployment, with a focus on immediate needs for strategic program areas such as planning, equipment/supplies, health worker training and awareness campaigns.
The project builds on the European Union’s and WHO’s ongoing support to countries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the joint EUR 35 million EU Solidarity for Health Initiative, aimed to support the partner countries in their fight against the virus and address better the needs of the most vulnerable people.
“Since early 2020, the EU has mobilised over 190 million euro to help Ukraine face the challenges of COVID-19, supporting its health system, frontline workers, small and medium-sized businesses and vulnerable groups. It has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to transfer medical equipment and supplies from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland and Slovakia to Ukraine and is providing emergency Macro-Financial Assistance worth EUR 1.2 billion to Ukraine to help limit the economic fallout of the pandemic,” the EU Delegation to Ukraine said.
Finally, the European Union is the largest donor to COVAX, an initiative which is set to provide the first batches of vaccines to Ukrainian frontline workers shortly. These efforts are part of #TeamEurope, the EU’s global approach to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.