„A friend in need is a friend indeed“ Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP (EPP, Poland) on macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.
Speaking at today’s European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in the presence of the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Volodymyr Groysman, and presenting his opinion on the EU’s decision concerning macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP (EPP, Poland) said:
„The European Parliament will soon approve the decision for Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine amounting to 1.8 billion euro under an expedited procedure, without amendments, and it will reaffirm the long-standing commitment of the European Parliament as well as of the European Union itself, to the reform process of Ukraine. Once adopted, this macro-financial assistance will contribute to supporting the legitimate leadership of Ukraine - the Parliament, Government and President.
A timely assistance for Ukraine may ease what would remain a serious balance-of-payment crisis threatening the financial stability of the country. Ukraine is not a poor country. It found itself in a drastic financial situation due to a lack of long overdue structural reforms, bad governance and economic and financial losses resulting from war, Russian invasion and occupation. Ukraine needs immediate, increased and timely support, as it fights against Russian aggression in the East of the country, while simultaneously attempting to reform its state and economy. It is important to emphasize that it is unprecedented in European history that a country faces two such immense challenges in parallel. Ukraine faces a destabilizing financial and economic crisis, which is partially the consequence of the severing of up to twenty per cent of its economy by the aggressor, and of financial consequences and costs of its war effort towards defending itself.
The best gift the European Union and international community could give to the aggressor - Russia and Putin himself, would be to allow Ukraine to go bankrupt. We will not allow that.
Besides macro-financial assistance, which is urgently necessary and must be as generous as possible, the EU should also explore creative non-financial avenues that could ease Ukraine’s financial situation and thus diminish its need for future financial assistance. Several options should be envisaged by the EU.
EU Member States should facilitate, through all possible legal and administrative means, the return to Ukrainian hands of those assets which were illegally detained by the former political leadership, and which are now hidden and frozen in banks in the EU.
The EU should ensure that, should Ukraine recovers the assets that were illegally detained by the previous leadership, Yanukovich’s leadership, those assets are not rerouted and used to satisfy any Russian claims, but are instead devolved to the benefit of Ukrainian state in need.
The EU should support further Ukraine's fight against endemic corruption, as that would greatly improve the fiscal revenues of the State.
The EU could also help financial stability of Ukraine by establishing a joint investigative body that would monitor the EU’s financial assistance towards Ukraine. Such body would not only ensure that the EU funds are spent properly, but would also serve as a capacity-building institution, being composed of the Ukrainian officials and anti-corruption experts from the EU, thus transferring to Ukraine best EU practice in financial control and auditing.
EU assistance should be targeted at reinforcing the most vulnerable areas of Ukrainian economy, influencing its financial equilibrium, such as energy market, business environment, and fiscal administration and policy. By targeting these areas, the EU will maximise its contribution towards easing Ukraine's financial strains.
A friend in need is a friend indeed and we want the EU to be such a friend towards Ukraine“.
The Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee did not object to the expedited procedure suggested and supported by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, the European Parliament’s standing rapporteur on Ukraine. The official vote in AFET will take place at the next meeting on Monday 9 March in Strasbourg. The plenary vote will be scheduled by the EP Conference of Presidents for late March or early April.
Draft opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs for the Committee on International Trade on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council providing macro-financial assistance to Ukraine Rapporteur: Jacek Saryusz-Wolski