Kyiv - supporting friends in need

Source: A.C. (Cecilia) Malmström i, published on Friday, September 30 2016.

I am back in Kyiv today for meetings to discuss the trade relations between the EU and Ukraine. I'll meet with Prime Minister Groysman, Vice Prime Minister Ivanna Klympusch-Tsintsadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin and Minister of Agriculture Taras Kutovyy, as well as with Ukrainian parliamentarians and representatives of European businesses here.

I am glad to be able to bring some good news to our Ukrainian friends. Yesterday, the European Commission adopted a proposal to give Ukrainian producers more and better access to the EU market for a number of agricultural and industrial products, such as cereals, processed tomatoes and honey, but also fertilizers, footwear, electronic equipment and certain metals. In our proposal, we will top up the amounts of exports allowed by our Association Agreement, which is in place since the beginning of the year. I believe that these improvements can bring tangible economic and political support to Ukraine, given the complicated situation in which this country is.

Much work still remains to unleash the full potential of our free trade area. In my meetings today, I will insist on Ukraine taking the necessary steps to attract EU investment by modernising its economy further - for instance by curbing corruption, making legislation transparent and predictable and removing barriers to trade that go against international commitments.

The progress so far is clear. The Ukrainian economy is now growing again, and its exports to the EU increased by 5% in the first few months since our Association Agreement became effective. As we go further, I want our partners in Ukraine to know that they can count on the full support of the EU, each step of the way.

Video from today's press conference with Vice Prime Minister Klympusch-Tsintsadze will be published here.