On the day of the Association Council with Ukraine, a number of financing agreements were signed between the European Commission and the Ukrainian government – further demonstration of the EU's ongoing commitment to Ukraine and to the dynamic reform process in that country.
The first financing agreement signed today governs European Commission support to Ukraine's public administration reform. Worth €104m, this is one component of a larger package totalling €300m of EU support for accountable and transparent government in Ukraine, developed over past months in order to back Ukraine's own reform efforts.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said: "I am delighted to confirm our backing for Ukraine's bid to overhaul its public administration. A neutral and professional civil service operating in the interests of all Ukrainian citizens is a crucial precondition for an accountable and transparent government. We are with Ukraine all the way."
The four other agreements signed today confirm Ukraine's participation in EU-funded cross-border cooperation, in the shape of new programmes involving Romania-Ukraine, Poland-Belarus-Ukraine, Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine, and the Black Sea region.
EU continues to support reforms in Ukraine
Over the next four years, the European Commission will provide €104 million to support the modernisation of Ukrainian public services in line with the governments 'Public Administration Reform Strategy'.
The bulk of the funding - €90 million- will be provided by the European Commission in annual tranches as budget support on the condition that the government sticks to its strategy. The budget support will be monitored closely by the EU Delegation in collaboration with the Support Group for Ukraine.
The overall aim is nothing less than the gradual building up of a new generation of public servants. (Allied) linked to Ukraine's own financing of public administration reform, the EU's contribution will help to change the way civil servants are recruited and trained, and allow a phased raising of salaries (also part of the reform strategy).
The new programme also includes a provision for technical assistance, worth a total of €14 million,to ensure that adequate advice and expertise, including from EU Member States, is available to the Ukrainian authorities for the effective and sustained roll-out of public administration reform.
Today's agreement is the next step in EU support to public administration reform in Ukraine. Both the EU and EBRD have already been drawing on a multi-donor account to hire talented individuals from outside the civil service to accelerate reforms. The so-called 'Reform Support Teams'are driving change and modernisation in the number of selected Ministries (initially in the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, and Infrastructure). With the new funding available, the EU will be on hand to provide the appropriate support and expertise to RSTs across the civil service (the Ministries of Regional Development, of Economy and of the Environment are the latest to express their interest).
The new programme has been designed by the Support Group for Ukraine and the EU Delegation in Ukraine in close collaboration with Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, and Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Oleksandr Sayenko, in consultation also with EU Member States.
It is just one component of an overall package of support for accountable and transparent government in Ukraine, a package worth in total some €300m. Other components include around €100m in support of decentralisation (already underway), €15m to fight corruption (with the financing agreement signed at the EU-Ukraine Summit last month), and €52.5m to foster the rule of law. There are plans also to provide a programme of support for public financial management, possibly in 2017.
Boosting Cross Border Cooperation in Ukraine
In addition to the above mentioned agreements, four new Financing Agreements have been signed by Ukraine, confirming the country's participation in new EU-funded cross border cooperation programmes involving Romania-Ukraine, Poland-Belarus-Ukraine, Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine and the Black Sea region.
The programmes, worth a total of €365 million, will continue to promote economic and social development in regions on both sides of common borders; address common challenges, in such fields as environment, public health and the prevention of and fight against organised crime; as well as ensure efficient and secure borders, which promote local cross-border people-to-people contacts.
Background: EU support for Ukraine
• Since 2014, the EU has committed €3.41 billion in macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine under three programmes. So far, €2.21 billion in loans have been disbursed - €610 million under the first MFA operation, €1 billion under the second programme, and €600 million as part of the most recent and ongoing MFA operation (MFA III). Subject to the effective implementation of policy measures detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding related to MFA III, two further tranches of €600 million each are expected to be made available to Ukraine in 2016 and 2017.
• The EU has provided a major support package in priority reform areasestablished together with Ukraine and EU Member States, facilitated in particular via the Support Group for Ukraine. The focus for 2015/16 has been on decentralisation (€100 million), economic development (€90 million), anti-corruption (€15 million), public administration reform (€104 million) and the rule of law (€52.5 million). Support related to the conflict through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) amounted to €73.7 million since 2014. In 2015 and 2016 the Commission humanitarian aid department allocated a total of €54.8 million which was reinforced by contributions from Member States. Ukraine has benefitted from the so called "more for more" funds, which is allocated based on partner country's progress on reforms.
Cross-border cooperation has an important place in EU cooperation with Ukraine and Eastern Partnership countries. Ukraine has benefited from its participation in four cross border cooperation programmes implemented under the 2007-2013 financial period with a total of €410million allocated by the EU for all the programmes concerned.
The objective of cross-border cooperation programmes, in which Member States and Partner Countries participate on equal terms, is to deliver a tangible impact on both sides of the borders concerned (cross-border impact) in a variety of sectors, including environmental protection, tourism, education and culture, and thus targeting the needs of the local population.
The EU continues to focus on building STRONGER governance for Ukraine, developing a STRONGER economy, enabling the emergence of a STRONGER society, and a STRONGER and more resilient country.
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- 19 Nollaig 2016
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