EU allocates EUR 80 mln to support Ukraine in its fight against COVID-19

As part of the global response to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, the European Commission announced the allocation of funds in support of Ukraine, European Pravda reports.

“Ukraine, which continues to suffer from acts of aggression in the country’s east and illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, was also adversely affected by the pandemic in all areas of vital activity,” the announcement says.

The European Commission maintains that the EU will continue supporting Ukraine in this dangerous crisis, and in order to ease its impact on the healthcare system, daily life of people and the economy, it prepares a complex of assistance measures for certain partner states and the Eastern Partnership region in general.

“The first support package for Ukraine amounts to approximately 80 million euros,” the European Commission said.

In total, the European Commission announced the allocation of 140 million euros for the most urgent needs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In addition, the Commission will also redirect the use of existing instruments in the amount of up to 700 million euros to help mitigate socioeconomic consequences of the coronavirus crisis.

When presenting these measures, Olivér Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “We help Ukraine in this extremely difficult time. Thanks to this support package, we want to save lives and strengthen resilience of the society. We support Ukraine’s reaction to the surge of needs in the healthcare and social assistance sector and the need to protect businesses and jobs. We know that we have to act quickly and efficiently to enhance efforts of the government and civil society.”

The aforementioned assistance package will be allocated to provide support to Ukraine’s healthcare system. It will help procure the necessary medical supplies and equipment and enhance the healthcare system’s capability to respond to the outbreak of this disease. Ukraine can also take advantage of the EU’s new Health Security Initiative aimed to strengthen the readiness of epidemiologists and primary medical care personnel, and of consultations provided by specialists of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Support will also be provided to the Ukrainian economy, in particular, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by boosting their liquidity, including via international financial institutions. The EU expedites the launch of a new program of supporting SMEs in Ukraine (20 million euros) funded from the EU’s 2020 budget, which will provide additional 10 million euros for hryvnia-denominated financing of small and medium-sized businesses. A 25 million-euro program of supporting small farms is also being launched in addition to 26 million euros provided in 2019.

These funds will also be allocated to support those affected the most by the crisis in cooperation with partner CSOs.

“We devote special attention to the eastern regions of Ukraine struck by the armed conflict, where our partners in delivering humanitarian aid and supporting early recovery provide response to the emergency situation caused by coronavirus. Over there, our assistance is used to purchase personal protective equipment for medical personnel and disinfectants, and to provide support to volunteers who deliver foods and medicaments to elderly people,” the European Commission explained.

Source: European Pravda