Andrew Rasbash: EU hopes to turn Ukraine into a prosperous and democratic country

Andrew Rasbash, Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, at EU Study Days
Andrew Rasbash, Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, at EU Study Days

Andrew Rasbash, Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, talked to Ukrainian students during EU Study Days, an education programme on European studies launched by the EU Delegation to Ukraine. During his presentation on April 14, 2013, he focused on the following issues:

On EU-Ukraine Cooperation: Since 1991 the EU has committed €3 billion for Ukraine to support the country’s transformation and its European integration. The strategic goal of the EU’s financial assistance is to turn Ukraine into a stable, prosperous and democratic country. Focusing on a policy-based approach, the EU identifies key sectors in which its commitments would be the most effective. This year the EU has prioritised three major areas for assistance: trade, environment and regional policy.

Together, EU and Ukraine agree on concrete goals in specific sectors of cooperation, based on Ukraine’s strategy. Once the foreseen results are achieved, the EU transfers funds directly to Ukraine’s state budget. In this way, the EU supports results and achievements with its assistance rather than inputs.

In addition, EU specific tools such as TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange), CIB (ComprehensiveInstitutionBuilding) and Twinning promote EU best practices in Ukraine’s public administration.

On major tools of EU-Ukraine Cooperation. The EU’s financial assistance is channelled through different mechanisms that have succeeded one another as EU-Ukraine bilateral relations develop. In the beginning, money was granted through the TACIS (Technical Assistance to CIS countries) Programme, which was then substituted by the ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument). Today the EU is developing the ENI (European Neighbourhood Instrument) to streamline support for 16 neighbour countries, including Ukraine, in line with the differentiation and “more for more” principles. The specific terms of this new financial programme still remain the subject of discussion, as the EU Member States and the EU institutions continue negotiations on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020.

On EU-Ukraine Cooperation in 2013. The EU plans to allocate € 186 million in 2013. Since Kyiv and Brussels are paving the way for the signature of the Association Agreement, the further development of EU financial assistance to Ukraine depends on whether the deal will be signed as hoped later this year.

On the Association Agreement. EU hopes Ukraine will sign and implement the Association Agreement. In December 2012 the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a list of criteria Kyiv is expected to fulfil before establishing political association with the EU.

On the EU-Ukraine free trade area. Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions are an indispensable part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. EU-Ukraine policy based on the Association Agreement can be compared to the EU relations with Central and Eastern European countries before their accession to the EU.