EU to lend €1 billion to Ukraine while calling on the country to fight corruption

EU to lend €1 billion to Ukraine while calling on the country to fight corruption
Ursula von der Leyen and Ukraine's president Zelensky. Credit: EU Commission

The European Commission has proposed the release of a new loan of €1 billion for Ukraine, as part of a broader package of €9 billion with which the EU wants to help Ukraine with their acute financial problems.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called on the country to accelerate its reforms in the fight against corruption, as stepping up the fight against corruption is one of the conditions the EU has placed on Ukraine to start genuine accession negotiations.

Speaking to the parliament in Kyiv, Von der Leyen said the country has the support of the European Union in its “long road” to EU accession.

Financial support

“The EU will continue to provide assistance to Ukraine and support its longer-term reconstruction as a democratic and prosperous country,” Von der Leyen said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the EU had already provided an emergency loan of €1.2 billion to Ukraine, but that was by no means sufficient to bring the country’s financial situation under control. The war has caused tax and export revenues to collapse, while spending is through the roof.

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The Commission therefore presented a second bailout package in May, with €9 billion in loans to support Ukraine’s financing challenges and prepare for longer-term reconstruction. The loans have favourable conditions, as the European budget will, for instance, cover interest costs.

The Commission has now proposed to release the first tranche of €1 billion, which can be made available to Ukraine once the European Parliament and the Member States approve this proposal.

The fight against corruption

At the same time, Von der Leyen urged Ukraine to step up the fight against corruption in order to start the accession negotiations. She praised “the impressive anti-corruption machine” that Kyiv has built in recent years, but added that the new institutions “must now be given sufficient resources and staff in positions of responsibility”.

She said that the public prosecutor’s office specialising in the fight against corruption and the national anti-corruption office should get a director as soon as possible. As for the reform of the Constitutional Court, “it is necessary that a selection procedure for judges be established, through legislative means”.

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