To improve the Ukrainian transport sector, the EU is supporting the country with a €65 million grant and nearly €500 million in loans.
On July 18, the EU-funded project, “Support to the Implementation of the Transport Strategy of Ukraine” (STS), wrapped up its information campaign to promote Ukraine’s Transport Strategy and the key elements of EU-Ukraine transport cooperation. As part of the information campaign, the STS project conducted a transport-focused exhibition across Ukraine, held a number of public lectures on the Transport Strategy and organised an essay competition for students around the theme of, “My vision of the transport future of Ukraine.”
“The EU is very interested in supporting reforms and the modernisation of the Ukrainian transport sector including roads, railway, maritime, aviation and inland waterway transport,” says Andrew Rasbash, Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Ukraine. To do so, the EU has allocated a €65 million grant for the Ukrainian government, to support the implementation of EU transport-related rules. Also, EU in-house financial institutions are providing additional assistance. “The EIB is loaning nearly half a billion, with €41 million allocated to reforming Ukrainian air traffic management and €450 million for road improvement,” Rasbash adds.
Hennadiy Derkach, a senior official at Ukraine’s state railway transport administration, outlines the key areas where the money will be allocated. Ukraine hopes, with the help of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to modernise the Byskydskyi single-track railway tunnel in Ukrainian Carpathians, which is part of pan-European transport corridor number five, he says. Derkach also stresses that Ukraine’s transport strategy aims to modernise infrastructure and increase passenger safety.
Placing transport cooperation in the broader context of EU-Ukraine relations, Andrew Rasbash underlined that 12 pages of the initialed Association Agreement are dedicated to transport. “By signing the Association Agreement, Ukraine will commit itself to implementing EU rules in the transport sector, which is a massive obligation,” he notes. The diplomat adds that the EU wants to have Ukraine “as a part of a larger European area in which goods and passengers travel smoothly within the country and the EU.”
During the final ceremony, Andrew Rasbash announced the winners of the student essay competition, which highlighted youth’s vision of Ukraine’s future transport strategy. Yulia Statsenko (Simferopol Transport Infrastructure College), Viacheslav Kovalchuk (Kyiv State Water Transport Academy), and Aleksander Surzhikov (Dnepropetrovsk National Railway Transport University) were awarded the top three prizes. Statsenko also had the opportunity to visit EU institutions in Brussels, which she says has inspired her with new ideas and initiatives.
“Support to the Implementation of the Transport Strategy of Ukraine” (STS) is an EU-funded project designed to help the Ministry of Infrastructure with the implementation of Ukraine’s National Transport Strategy adopted in October 2010 and to reinforce cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the transport sector. In order to reach the above mentioned objectives, the STS project assists Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure in meeting the targets jointly set by the “EU’s Transport Sector Budget Support Program to Ukraine,” allocating €65 million to the Ukrainian state budget. The STS project also runs a public information campaign to raise civil society awareness about the EU-Ukraine joint objectives to improve transport infrastructure in Ukraine.
More information on EU-Ukraine transport cooperation is available at: http://transport-ukraine.eu
Volodymyr Gushuley, Kyiv