A Ukrainian delegation led by Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk participated in the inaugural meeting of the Association Council of Ukraine and the European Union in Brussels on Monday, December 15.
The Ukrainian delegation includes Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Aivaras Abromavicius, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko, Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalia Yaresko, Chairman of the Naftogaz of Ukraine Board Andrii Kobolev, Director of the Government Office for European Integration of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Natalia Gnydiuk.
At a press conference following the meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that during the meeting were discussed ways of implementing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union: "This is our joint goal - to implement the agreement and make Ukraine successful."
He recalled that the Government of Ukraine had already announced its reform agenda, "which is based on the Agreement with the EU and provides fast and effective reforms in Ukraine."
According to the PM, the issue of investment and financial support to Ukraine was raised during the meeting: "The situation is extremely difficult. Russian aggression, the annexation of Crimea and Russia-led terrorists in eastern Ukraine has caused Ukraine to lose 10 % of its industrial output and 20 % of the Ukrainian economy. We are expecting minus 7 % of GDP. Ukrainian currency has fallen very much – by about 100%. And despite all this, the Government has collected by 5% more taxes compared to 2013. But it cannot last forever. We cannot fix it just by fiscal means."
The Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted two packages of economic austerity: "We have cut 10% of civil servants, closed a range of preferential and social programs, introduced new taxes. So, we did everything in our power, and will do everything that was promised and what is necessary for the Ukrainian economy. But to go through this period, Ukraine should get a "safety cushion". And this is a new financial aid package. We expect that for our reform agenda and due to our commitment to the implementation of reforms, we will get financial aid."
"The Government is doing everything possible, but we need support to stabilize the Ukrainian economy, fiscal and financial sector, go through this turbulence and rather difficult historical period and overcome all the challenges we face. We are facing security challenges related to Russian aggression and Russia-led terrorists on the Ukrainian ground. We are facing economic challenges. We believe that together, by joint efforts with our European friends, the European Union and the Member States we will overcome this and 2015 should be a year of stabilization, and 2016-a year of growth and real recovery," Arseniy Yatsenyuk underlined.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine stressed the need to organize a donors' conference aimed at supporting Ukraine: "It should be joint steps of the IMF, World Bank, European Union, United States, the G7 in order to conduct such a financial conference and in the framework of this conference to adopt a plan for recovery and growth of Ukraine".
"We firmly believe that Ukraine will attain success, and this will be a joint success of Ukraine and the EU", Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.