Asked by this writer in the morning at a hotel lounge about what Brussels expects from the visit of the President of Ukraine and his participation in the 16th Ukraine-EU summit, which was held yesterday in the Belgian capital yesterday, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, Jan Tombinski, said: “We expect to hear good news from Ukraine.”
However, according to another EU interlocutor, the ambassador said frankly in a conversation with him: why did the president have to come here? The memorandum on the EU rendering Ukraine a 610-million-euro macro aid package could have been signed without him.
Incidentally, the president even arrived at the European Council premises 15 minutes before the scheduled time. He was accompanied by a big delegation. Almost 30 journalists came to cover this visit. Most of them flew from Ukraine on the presidential plane, and, indeed, among the signed documents, there were only two that really mattered: the Memorandum of Understanding and the credit agreement under which the European Union offers Ukraine a 610-million-euro macro aid package. What is more, 60 million euros out of this amount need not to be returned, with the rest being a loan. It was decided to sign the memorandum in the last minute, and it is not clear on whose initiative it was done,” the interlocutor said. But, to tell the truth, Barroso and Van Rompuy had mentioned the memorandum in an article published on the eve of the summit.
Besides, as it was expected, a memorandum on a Ukraine-EU business climate dialogue was also signed at the summit. According to Ihor Prasolov, Minister for Economic Development and Trade, the trade turnover between Ukraine and the EU reached 50.7 billion dollars in 2012. In his words, the signing of this document is aimed at boosting trade between Ukraine and the EU and addressing the problems of trade and investments. As part of an informal dialogue, there will be meetings, with the obligatory presence of businesspeople, which will discuss matters of mutual interest for both Ukraine and the EU. These matters will also focus on the problems that hinder the expansion of our trade and investments as well as the factors that will promote trade, Prasolov emphasized. In his words, this administrative agreement is valid for five years and may be extended for another five years.
Meanwhile, Eduard Stavytsky, Minister of Ukraine for Energy and the Coal Industry, said that, by signing a joint report on the execution of the EU-Ukraine Memorandum on Mutual Understanding and Cooperation in the Energy Sector, we reported on what we had done over the past year.