Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's Office says the European Commission has decided on a EUR 1.2 billion aid package for Ukraine amid the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"The European Commission has announced its decision to provide Ukraine with EUR 1.2 billion in support amid the COVID-19 pandemic," the Office said on its website on April 22.
According to Zelensky, this is an unprecedented amount of macro-financial assistance to the country.
"The decision by the European Commission is not only a manifestation of solidarity in difficult times. This is a testimony that Ukraine made no mistake by choosing its European path. After all, a friend in need is a friend indeed," he said.
The aid will help guarantee Ukraine's macroeconomic stability, as with this support, the Ukrainian government will be able to release additional resources for protecting citizens and mitigating the negative consequences of the pandemic.
In total, the EU's aid package for 10 neighboring countries totals about EUR 3 billion. The next assistance worth EUR 600 million is expected to be disbursed to Tunisia.
The European Commission's decision is yet to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Given the urgency of the issue, the European Commission expects prompt approval. As soon as this happens, the first disbursement may immediately arrive without additional conditions. The second disbursement may be provided after the list of indicators agreed upon with the EU has been implemented, that is in the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4) or Q1 2021.
The President's Office says that, as was the case with usual macro-financial assistance from the EU, the disbursements will also depend on the satisfactory progress of the partner country in implementing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program and using IMF loans.
Earlier in April, the European Commission took a decision to allocate EUR 190 million in assistance to Ukraine for the health care system, the economy, small- and medium-sized businesses, and vulnerable groups of people.
The European Union also gave EUR 13 million in humanitarian aid for Donbas. "The EU assistance is a manifestation of real European solidarity and a significant contribution to Ukraine's efforts in overcoming the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic," Zelensky's Office said.