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EU commissioner: Sum of 160 billion euro Ukraine requires for its adaptation is inflated

November 29, 2013, 1:15 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, November 28, 22:48 /ITAR-TASS/. Stefan Fule, the European commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, regards Ukraine’s assessment of the funds needed for its adaptation to European standard as inflated. He believes the sum of 160 billion euro Ukraine requires for adaptation to European standards does not look convincing.

Even if this sum is spread over ten years of the transition period, this amounts to ten percent of Ukraine’s GDP. This contrasts with the experience of Central and East European countries. They invested just a couple of percent points from their annual GDP when acceding to the European Union, Fule said in an interview with the newspaper Segodnya published on Thursday.

The European commissioner said the funds invested into the modernization of the economy should be regarded really as an investment, rather than expenditure. The only expenditure Ukraine may sustain is the pay for inaction. Ukraine risks its future, which will lead to deeper economic stagnation, Fule holds.

The European commissioner believes that due to the Association Agreement, Ukraine’s GDP could grow in perspective by 6.2 percent. He believes the advantages of the agreement were absolutely obvious. Ukrainian exporters could save up to 500 million euro on entry duties in the very first year while Ukraine’s GDP might increase by 6.2 percent in long-term perspective.

Fule said European structures had already allocated considerable sums as financial aid to Ukraine and planned the further increase. He said there was no denying that the EU was a major international provider of technical and financial aid to Ukraine.

In all the years of Ukraine’s independence from 1991, the European Union backed structural transformations in Ukraine, allocating over 3.3 billion euro in grants. Loans from the Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development totaled 10.5 billion euro. And all this, to say nothing of aid from many countries of the European Union. There were plans to increase aid to Ukraine in 2014-2020 after the signing of the agreement to help Ukraine adapt and modernize its economy, Fule said.

The Eastern Partnership summit at which the signing of Ukraine’s Association membership with the EU was planned, opened in Vilnius on Thursday. However, Ukraine suspended the preparation for the agreement’s signing a week before the summit.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovish said Ukraine would sign the EU Association Agreement when the economic conditions were ripe for that. “We will do all so that Ukraine should be stronger economically. As soon as we reach the level at which we feel comfortable we will be ready to sign the agreement with the EU,” he said. Yanukovich said that at least 20 billion euro a year was needed for adapting Ukraine’s economy to European standards, which will amount to approximately 160 billion euro till 2017.

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