The presidential offices of Slovakia and Ukraine are working on a declaration recognizing Ukraine’s European integration aspirations, said Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard Heger.
“Slovakia has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine and her European aspirations of Ukraine. This is one of my main messages today in Kyiv. And we are vocal on that in Brussels as well. Presidential offices of both countries are working on the declaration you mentioned,” Heger said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
He stressed that Ukraine’s European integration aspirations had already been officially recognized many times.
“For now, it is important to use all the provisions the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine offers,” the premier added.
He noted that during his visit to Kyiv on Friday, he would talk with Ukrainian interlocutors about the reforms.
“Indeed, transformation and modernization of the country is a prerequisite for becoming a member of the EU and NATO. The reform process in Ukraine is continuing and Slovakia believes it will be sustainable and successful. Btw, the changes are not about the EU and NATO, they need to be introduced be Ukrainians themselves to make Ukraine stronger, more resilient, to the benefit of all the Ukrainians,” Heger said.
The gradual approximation of the regulatory environment and digital development of Ukraine to the level of the European Union as part of integration into the EU Digital Single Market will affect the productivity and economic growth of the country, according to a Tuesday statement on the website of the Ministry of Digital Transformation.
The study entitled “Ukraine’s integration into the EU Digital Single Market: potential economic benefits” was carried out by the Trade+ Center for International Trade Analysis at the Kyiv School of Economics and NGO Ukrainian Center for European Policy and was ordered by the Ministry of Digital Transformation.
The results of the study contain expert assessments and real calculations of the potential profit for the country’s economy from integration into the EU Digital Single Market.
According to the study, the gradual approximation of the regulatory environment and digital development of Ukraine to the EU level within the framework of integration into the EU Digital Single Market will influence bilateral trade: an increase in exports of goods from Ukraine to the EU is expected by 11.8%-17% ($2.4-3.4 billion), services – by 7.6%-12.2% ($302.5-485.5 million).
It will also impact the productivity and economic growth of Ukraine: GDP growth in Ukraine is expected at the level of 2.4-12.1% ($3.1-15.8 billion), the welfare of citizens – by 3.6-7.8%.
It is also expected that the export of goods from the EU to Ukraine will grow by 17.7-21.7% ($4.1-5 billion), and services by 5.7-9.1% to ($191-305 million).
According to the study, an increase in the level of digitalization by 1% will lead to an increase in Ukraine’s GDP by 0.42%.
“Various scenarios of integration into the EU Digital Single Market show that the size of potential benefits will depend on the scale of regulatory and digital transformations in Ukraine. The faster and more efficiently we implement the necessary transformations, the faster we will be able to realize the benefits of integration into the EU Digital Single Market,” Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for European Integration Valeria Ionan said.
According to the study, the main economic benefits for Ukraine from integration into the EU Digital Single Market are: reduction of transaction and trade costs in trade in goods and services between the EU and Ukraine; growth of business efficiency, economic productivity and GDP of Ukraine; growing well-being of citizens of Ukraine and the EU: better access and lower prices for digital innovative goods and services, consumer protection; development of innovative products and services of digital infrastructure.
In addition, bringing Ukraine’s legislation and standards closer to EU legislation and standards will reduce regulatory differences between Ukraine and the EU in the digital sphere and accelerate Ukraine’s digital development.
Olha Stefanyshyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, has opened the first regional office of European Integration in Ukraine in Kherson.
“Today, the ‘decentralization’ of European integration begins from Kherson, which should spread to all regions of Ukraine. The network of regional offices will help create effective platforms for dialogue and cooperation of foreign partners, civil society and local authorities, so that the benefits of European integration are tangible and noticeable in every area, every city and town,” the press service of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine quoted Stefanyshyna as saying.
The key activities of the regional office of European integration are the following: cultural and educational projects, in particular the dissemination of knowledge about the European course of Ukraine among schoolchildren and students; increasing business contacts between entrepreneurs of Kherson region and EU member states; implementation of the Association Agreement; achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular gender equality.
“The European Integration Office in Kherson is the first of the European integration units, which is close to the Crimean peninsula. It is very important that everyone who comes to Kherson region across the administrative border with Crimea can take advantage of European integration, receive advice and practical information about the course of Ukraine in the EU and its advantages and opportunities,” noted Stefanyshyna.
The Deputy Prime Minister also stressed the importance of forming a wide network of regional offices of European integration in Ukraine.
“Kherson region is the first among the regions where offices for European integration will operate, but we already observe interest from other regions of Ukraine. Khmelnytsky, Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava regions are in touch with us today to learn from the successful experience of opening regional offices and extend this example to their regions,” she said.
The Ukrainian government is planning to open European integration offices in all regions, as is evident from the government action program, whose text is published on the Verkhovna Rada website.
“The government will ensure the establishment of European integration offices in all regions of Ukraine, with the primary focus on the southern and eastern regions, to make European integration advantages closer to the people and businesses at the local level,” the document said.
It intends to attain this primarily through fostering cultural and educational projects, contacts, and also economy and infrastructure involving the EU’s investments and financial assistance, it said.
The government is confident that an emphasis on “regionalization of Euro-integration” would help direct extra resources to provinces so that their residents could feel immediate advantages from Ukraine’s course toward integration with the EU, the document said.
The Ukrainian legislation should adopt at least 80% of the EU acts envisioned by the Association Agreement.
“Among the results of these measures would be consistent growth in support from Ukrainian citizens of our country’s integration with Europe,” it said.
The government said it is determined to make dialogue with the EU instrumental in fostering “growth of direct investment in Ukraine from companies from the European Union and an increase in the EU’s financial assistance for Ukraine.”