President of the European Parliament David Sassoli has announced his readiness to visit Ukraine. He said this at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday. Speaking about the presentation of the Sakharov Prize to Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, Sassoli said that at present Sentsov “has health problems.” “He has been invited to come to Brussels or Strasbourg to receive it. We will be extremely happy to see him if he is able to travel. Today, in the conference of presidents I said I am going to visit Ukraine myself,” the EP president said. Oleh Sentsov, together with 34 Ukrainians, arrived in Kyiv on September 7 as a result of the mutual release of detainees between Ukraine and Russia.
The European Parliament (EP) on June 13 voted in favor of the third Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme for Ukraine foreseeing the provision of EUR 1 billion to Ukraine. European parliamentarians approved the package for Ukraine with 527 supportive votes, 124 votes against the provision of this assistance and 29 parliamentarians abstained from a vote.
“I am waiting for the final decision from the Council of the European Union (EU) in the near term,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page. As reported, the Council of the EU preliminarily approved the provision of financial assistance for Ukraine in the amount of EUR 1 billion, which will be used by Ukraine within two years. The loans will support economic stabilisation and a programme of structural reforms.
The Council of the EU said that the further disbursements will be conditional on Ukraine respecting democratic mechanisms and the rule of law, and guaranteeing respect for human rights.
The conditions will be laid down in a memorandum of understanding between Ukraine and the Commission. The Commission will be responsible for disbursing the macro-economic assistance. The Commission and the European External Action Service will monitor the fulfilment of the conditions,” the Council said.
Parliament, Council and Commission agreed a joint statement in the light of unfulfilled conditions and the cancellation of the third instalment of the previous programme.
According to the joint statement, the economic policy and financial conditions of the Memorandum of Understanding to be agreed between the European Union and Ukraine shall include inter alia obligations to strengthen the governance, the administrative capacities and the institutional set-up in particular for the fight against corruption in Ukraine, notably regarding a verification system for asset declarations, the verification of companies’ beneficial ownership data and a well-functioning specialised anticorruption court in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission. Conditions on combating money laundering and tax avoidance shall also be considered.
“If the conditions are not met, the Commission shall temporarily suspend or cancel the disbursement of the macro-financial assistance,” the Parliament, the Council and the Commission said in the joint statement. A pre-condition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance should be that Ukraine respects effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system.
According to the published materials, the loans shall have a maximum average maturity of 15 years. It will be divided into two disbursements, which sizes will be approved additionally. The Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be made available for a period of two and a half years, starting from the first day after the entry into force of the Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine.
The Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be disbursed to the National Bank of Ukraine. Subject to the provisions to be agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding, including a confirmation of residual budgetary financing needs, the Union funds may be transferred to the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance as the final beneficiary.
The EU recalled that since May 2014 Ukraine has received EUR 2.81 billion of macro-financial assistance from the Union. Following its technical mission of November 2017, the IMF revised its estimates of Ukraine’s external financing needs, identifying an additional gap of $4.5 billion for 2018 and 2019.
The European Parliament will vote on the third macro-financial assistance program for Ukraine in the framework of the plenary session on June 13. The program envisages the allocation of EUR 1 billion. According to the information posted on the website of the European Parliament, a voting on a package of further macro-financial assistance for Ukraine is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, and Wednesday, June 13. MEP Jaroslaw Walesa is to report on it.
As reported, the EU Council approved the allocation of financial assistance to Ukraine in the amount of EUR1 billion, which is expected to be used by the Ukrainian authorities within the next two years. The purpose of allocating funds is “economic stabilization and a program for structural reforms.”
This is the third package of financial assistance to the Ukrainian authorities from the EU since 2014. In 2014, the EU sent aid to Ukraine in the amount of EUR 1.6 billion, and in 2015 – EUR 1.8 billion.