On February 2nd, President von der Leyen led a landmark visit to Kyiv, accompanied by 15 Commissioners, marking the first-ever meeting between the College of the European Commission and the Ukrainian government. The visit sent a very clear message to Ukraine and beyond about the EU’s collective strength and resolve in the face of Russia’s brutal aggression and our steadfast solidarity with Ukraine and its people.
Read on to discover the thoughts, key insights, and aspirations of the Commissioners following this historic meeting.
“Standing by Ukraine in their incredible resistance to Putin’s war of aggression is the most sense-making thing I can imagine.” said Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager during her visit to Kyiv. There, she held a meeting with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov to explore joint initiatives and acknowledge Ukraine’s progress in digital transformation, which places it at the forefront of Europe.
Check out her Instagram Reels for a first-hand view from the ground.
In 2023, the EU is providing up to €18 bln in predictable and sustainable macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, helping to cover its financing needs. During his visit to Kyiv, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombroskis held a meeting with Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, where they delved into a comprehensive array of crucial issues, such as financial assistance, integration into the European single market, and the elimination of trade barriers between Ukraine and the EU.
For a more in-depth understanding, check out his Twitter thread.
Josep Borrell Fontelles
“Our meeting in Kyiv underlined the vital importance of our bilateral agenda. It demonstrated that the European dream of the Ukrainian people is becoming a reality. The EU and Ukraine are closer together than ever. Ukraine’s future lies within the EU” said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell Fontelles.
With its abundant resources, Ukraine has the potential to become a leading producer of critical raw materials. In Kyiv, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič met with Minister Ruslan Strilets to explore opportunities to modernize Ukraine’s mining sector and attract investment. At the meeting with Minister German Galushchenko, he also welcomed Ukraine’s interest in taking part in the EU Energy Platform for joint purchasing of gas.
Check his insights from his LinkedIn post ↓
Maroš Šefčovič on LinkedIn: #energysecurity #rawmaterials #batteries #euenergyplatform…
🇪🇺🇺🇦 Our first College-to-Government meeting. A strong symbol of the European Commission's support for Ukraine…
Vice President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, expressed her strong support for Ukraine upon her arrival in Kyiv, stating “Courage has a name and it is Ukraine.” During the College to Government meeting, she emphasized the commitment of the European Commission to accompany Ukraine’s progress in the areas of the Rule of Law and anti-corruption.
In Kyiv, Vice President for promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, met with Education Minister Serhiy Shkarlet and Culture Minister Tkachenko Oleksandr. During the meeting, he emphasized the European Commission’s commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine. He stated, “Our support helps Ukrainian children attend school and citizens receive medical treatment, whether in Ukraine or while seeking refuge in the EU. We are unwavering in our determination to safeguard Ukraine’s cultural heritage.”
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit underscored the European Union’s dedication to supporting Ukrainians fleeing the war in their pursuit of employment and protection in the EU, for as long as they choose to stay. Emphasizing the EU’s commitment to working closely with Ukraine, Schmit stated, “We will closely work with Ukraine on social reforms for EU accession”.
“Resistance as a prerequisite for peace, with Europe as our shared goal.” During the visit, Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni also held a productive meeting with the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, Sergii Marchenko, to discuss the progress of reforms aimed at aligning Ukraine’s legislation with EU standards and strengthening cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the areas of economic governance and taxation.
Our Solidarity Lanes have helped Ukraine export its goods and import what it needs, with more than 23 million tonnes of grain and related products already transported via these alternative routes. Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski was in Kyiv to take stock of the ongoing EU-Ukraine collaboration in agriculture.
“Our trip comes as a sign of strong support for the people of Ukraine. I welcome the announcement on the development in the Hague of the International Centre for the Prosecution for the crimes of aggression against Ukraine. This is an important first step to support Ukraine in the fight against impunity. Justice must be done”, said Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders
“In solidarity, we will continue to assist Ukraine and its people as long as need be”. Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič highlighted that €145 million of the new EU support package worth €450 million will be dedicated to humanitarian assistance.
During her visit to Kyiv, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson held a meeting with Deputy Minister of the Internal Affairs Meri Akopyan to discuss the safeguarding of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s aggression in the EU. The two exchanged views on ways to improve cooperation, including exchanging information and preventing illegal activities.
Seven months have passed since granting Ukraine the status of candidate country. During the college to government meeting, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi highlighted that reconstruction and recovery have to run in parallel.
“It’s been almost a year since the war started, and we will not stop supporting Ukraine until it’s victorious” said Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius. “And we prove this with actions: I am very moved because among the new initiatives we presented is our EU Phoenix, which will help Ukraine rebuild its cities in an affordable and sustainable manner. We will provide cutting edge expertise that will be immediately available to make Ukraine’s cities energy efficient, and climate neutral.”
Before Russia started this war, the EU was very vocal about the severe economic costs it will impose on Russia if it invades Ukraine. Today, Russia is paying a heavy price, as the sanctions are eroding its economy, throwing it back by a generation. During her visit to Kyiv, Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness spoke about the implementation of our sanctions against Russia.
Check her insights from her LinkedIn page ↓