On Tuesday, May 12, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel held their first virtual meeting.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine assured that European and Euro-Atlantic integration remains a priority of Ukraine’s foreign policy.
“I hope that Germany, during its EU Council’s presidency in the second half of 2020, will give a clear signal about Ukraine’s European future,” the Prime Minister said.
Denys Shmyhal raised an issue of the possibility of obtaining an industrial visa-free regime with the European Union, as well as Ukraine’s accession to NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partnership (EOP).
The parties tackled the economic situation, in particular, overcoming the consequences of coronavirus pandemics. The Prime Minister thanked Germany for its consistent financial support, emphasizing that since 2014 the country had provided a EUR 1.4 billion assistance to Ukraine, of which EUR 150 million (available funds) will be used to help Ukrainian hospitals purchase medical equipment and to support small and medium business amid coronavirus crisis.
“Backing small-sized businesses can be another area to direct funds. For example, to reimburse bank interest on loans taken by small businesses. Or to develop certain industries that have been affected by the coronavirus,” the PM stressed.
During the online conference, the sides also raised the issue of the transformation of coal regions. In particular, a possibility to render assistance in the implementation of a pilot project at one of the Ukrainian mines. The Chancellor assured that Germany would be happy to take part in such a project.
Apart from that, the Prime Minister of Ukraine expressed hope that cooperation with the IMF under the Stand-by program currently being discussed would allow getting a USD 5 billion, of which USD 3.5 billion to replenish 2020 State Budget reserves.
“It’s not just financial support. This is a guarantee of receiving funding from other international financial organizations and an indicator that we are pursuing the policy of systemic reforms,” said the Head of the Ukrainian Government.
Denys Shmyhal expressed hope that the Memorandum of Cooperation with the IMF would be signed by the end of May.