Ukraine and the EU strengthen their cooperation in digital, tax and customs sectors
The European Commission has signed 4 sectoral agreements to strengthen EU-Ukraine cooperation further. 500 million euros in funding, participation in the Digital Europe Programme and the two Customs and Fiscalis programmes. These are described as important steps forward in Ukraine's pre-accession strategy.
The signed budget support programme of 500 million euros is part of the pledges announced by the European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen during the 'Stand up for Ukraine' campaign in April and at the May High-Level International Donors' Conference in Warsaw. The grants will help provide housing and education for internally displaced persons and returnees and support Ukraine's agricultural sector.
In addition, the Commission concluded an agreement to associate Ukraine with the Digital Europe Programme, an important step in further integration with the Digital Single Market. Ukrainian companies, organisations and public administrations will be able to access the calls of the Programme, which has a total budget of 7.5 billion euros for the period 2021-2027.
In particular, Ukraine will be able to apply for funding and support for projects in key areas such as: supercomputing, artificial intelligence, advanced digital skills and ensuring the wide use of digital technologies in society through Digital Innovation Hubs. Further calls of the programme are expected to be opened in early autumn 2022.
"Ukraine has shown remarkable resilience and technological prowess in dealing with Russia’s invasion, also in the digital space. With this agreement, the EU and Ukraine will benefit from each other’s know-how and expand our digital capacities", said the executive vice-president of the European Commission, Marghrethe Vestager.
In addition, Ukraine has been exempted from contributing to the programme for the current year. Finally, the Commission today signed two agreements paving the way for Ukraine's participation in the EU Customs and Fiscalis programmes: this is an essential boost to cooperation in customs and taxation matters. The first programme helps customs administrations to deal more efficiently with increasing trade flows and emerging trends and technologies; while the second allows tax administrations to work together in fighting tax fraud, evasion and aggressive tax planning.
"Ukraine's participation in the Customs programme," explains the Commission, "will also include connection to the Secure Common Customs Network (CCN/CSI)", which is necessary for Ukraine to implement the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS). This connection is essential for Ukraine when it accedes to two transit conventions (the EU-Common Transit Convention on a common transit procedure and the Convention on simplifying formalities in trade in goods) on 1 October. This is an important step forward in Ukraine's pre-accession strategy and will greatly support the work on solidarity lanes to and from Ukraine.