The ambassadors of the European Union have excluded Ukraine from the list of countries for which it is recommended to lift the restrictive measures imposed on unnecessary travel to the EU due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This decision was made on Friday in Brussels, diplomatic sources reported to Interfax-Ukraine.
The official decision will be announced next week. It was adopted in connection with the increase in the incidence of coronavirus in Ukraine. The country was included in the list, which is reviewed every two weeks, on 15 July.
As previously reported, on 30 June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation to gradually remove temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU. This recommendation included an initial list of countries for which Member States can remove travel restrictions at external borders.
On May 20, the Council adopted a recommendation to amend in response to ongoing vaccination campaigns by introducing certain exemptions for vaccinated persons and relaxing the criteria for lifting restrictions for third countries. At the same time, the amendments take into account the possible risks associated with new options, establishing an emergency braking mechanism that allows to quickly respond to the emergence of a new option or deterioration of the situation in a third country.
The Council’s recommendation is not a legally binding document. The authorities of the member countries remain responsible for their implementation.
The European Union has invited the Ukrainian government to determine specific targets for achieving climate neutrality by 2050, 10 years ahead of schedule.
“The EU welcomes the submission of an updated NDC with increased ambition and encouraged Ukraine to continue developing concrete milestones to achieve Ukraine’s climate neutrality by 2050 and to align its sectoral strategies with that objective,” a press release by the EU Delegation to Ukraine, following the second meeting of the working group within the framework of the dialogue on Green Deal between Ukraine and the EU, reads.
The EU reiterated the need for Ukraine to pursue reforms, and strengthen administrative capacities to implement the commitments of enhanced NDC and possibly achieve additional emission reductions.
“The EU underlined the need for rapid adoption, implementation and enforcement of Ukraine’s key environmental legislation (Waste management, Industrial Emissions, Environmental Control, Emerald network) and of the National Forest management Strategy,” the message says.
Deputy Director General NEAR and Head of the Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA) Katarína Mathernová signalled EU’s readiness to support further Ukrainian efforts, including through financial assistance, for setting up a robust Ukrainian climate governance based on long-term climate neutrality objectives which would guide policies and the “whole-of-the-economy” green transition.
As reported, in accordance with NDC, Ukraine should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% of the 1990 level by 2030, and achieve climate neutrality by 2060. Such goals were set and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers decree of July 30, 2021.
Ukrainian importers in January-August fully used quotas for duty-free import of pork from the European Union, further import of chilled pork will be subject to a 12% duty, and frozen pork – 10%, this was reported on the website of the Pig Breeders of Ukraine association. “As of September 1, some 20,000 tonnes of chilled and frozen pork from the EU countries were brought to Ukraine. This corresponds to the quota for duty-free supply of pork from the European Union countries established under the economic part of the Association Agreement. Since these limits have been used this year, each next kilogram of European chilled pork will cost importers 12% more due to the duty, and frozen pork meat will rise in price by 10%,” the organization said.
According to the association, there has been some recovery in import activity this year, which confirms the use of the pork import quota in August, while in previous years the import quota was used in November-December.
It clarified that Ukrainian importers have similar agreements on duty-free supplies of up to 14,400 tonnes of pork from Canada (the quota was used by 9%) and up to 1,700 tonnes from the UK (no deliveries from this country were made in 2021).
“If the import of raw meat from these countries becomes economically attractive for the importer, the supply of frozen pork is unlikely to have a significant impact on the domestic pork market. In addition, the expected changes in exchange rates in the fall will also increase the entry barrier for imported raw materials,” the association concluded.
The European Union has officially published its list of sectoral sanctions against Belarus.
In line with the decision of the EU Council, which was published in the EU’s official journal, the ban on import or transit from Belarus of highly significant export goods for the country, petroleum products and potash fertilizers, applies to contracts signed after June 25, 2021. The EU sanctions thus do not apply to current contracts for supplies of petroleum products and potash fertilizers.
“It shall be prohibited […] to transport petroleum products if they originate in Belarus, or are being exported from Belarus to any other country; to provide, directly or indirectly, technical assistance, brokering services, financing or financial assistance, including financial derivatives, as well as insurance and re-insurance […]. The prohibitions […] shall be without prejudice to the execution of contracts concluded before June 25, 2021, or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts,” the document said.
Similar sanctions are envisaged for potash fertilizers from Belarus. “It shall be prohibited to import, purchase or transfer, directly or indirectly, potassium chloride (‘potash’) products […] from Belarus, whether or not originating in Belarus. The prohibitions […] shall be without prejudice to the execution of contracts concluded before June 25, 2021, or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts,” it said.
Exports of Ukrainian organic products to the countries of the European Union in 2020 decreased by 23.1% compared to 2019, to 217,210 tonnes. According to the June report of the European Commission, last year Ukraine ranked fourth in the world among suppliers of organic products to this market, its total share of supplies amounted to 7.8%.
Organic cereals (excluding wheat and rice cereals) became the main Ukrainian export crop to the EU organic market, their exports in 2020 sank by 44%, to 82,900 tonnes. Despite the decline, Ukraine remained the main supplier to the European Union, its share amounted to 74.4% of the total supply.
Exports of organic soybeans from Ukraine to the EU in 2020 increased by 67.8% compared to 2019, to 28.7% (21% of the world exports to Europe), organic oilseeds decreased by one third, to 19,300 tonnes (14.1%), oilseed meal – by 9.4%, to 7,400 tonnes (3.2%).
In 2020, Ukraine also exported 5.9% more fresh and dried organic vegetables to the EU than in 2019, 15,500 tonnes, while the export of fresh, chilled and dried organic vegetables decreased by 13.2%, to 5,400 tonnes.
As reported, the Ministry of Economy in April 2021 planned to allocate UAH 50 million for the development of organic production, the amount of state support may increase due to the redistribution of funds from other state programs.
The ministry intends to provide financial support to organic producers in the amount of UAH 5,000 per hectare of cultivated land (but not more than 20 hectares per farm), as well as for one animal (cattle). In addition, farmers will receive refunds of up to 30% of the cost of certification of organic production.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal has said that integration with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) will open up additional prospects for the development of “green energy” in Ukraine.
“Ukraine seeks to adapt the best policies of the European Union, and for this, over the past one and a half years, the government has been actively introducing and developing the gas and electricity market, and is also actively preparing for integration with ENTSO-E in 2023,” the government’s press service said, citing Shmyhal.
The prime minister said that Ukraine is integrating the System Value approach of the World Economic Forum (WEF) into economic planning, in particular, within the framework of this approach, energy efficiency improvements, modernization of distribution networks and an increase in the share of renewable energy sources will become important factors.
“The System Value approach, developed by the WEF, defines a set of solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of economic and power systems. It allows for a better and more complete assessment of the economic, environmental, social and technological results of implementing solutions in the power sector. This tool will also be used for “green” modernization of the economy,” the head of government said.
Shmyhal said that Ukraine has one of the most energy-intensive economies in Europe, and energy efficiency measures will help decarbonize Ukraine’s economy, increase investment in the technology sector and create new jobs.
According to the head of government, integration with the ENTSO-E, which is scheduled for 2023, will open up broad prospects for the development of renewable energy sources in Ukraine, while increasing the stability of the Ukrainian and European power systems.
The prime minister expressed confidence that in the next report of the WEF Energy Transition Index, Ukraine will rank higher thanks to the active development of smart grids, hydrogen economy and power storage systems.