Honourable Mr Prime Minister,
Honourable media representatives,
I would like to warmly welcome Prime Minister Shmyhal to Brussels and to his visit to the European Commission. I think it is symbolic that it is his first official visit abroad and it is to the European Union. We had a very fruitful meeting and covered a range of topics on the EU's and Ukraine's agenda.
Ukraine is high on Europe's agenda and we continue to provide political, financial and technical assistance, especially during this time of crisis, we support Ukraine's reform agenda to build a more resilient economy.
The EU has shown solidarity with Ukraine also in the face of the pandemic and last month it agreed to a support package of €190 million. I know this support is already reaching Ukrainian families, medics, small businesses and civil society organisations, helping them to face the crisis. We know that Ukraine is one of the countries in the EU's neighbourhood which is hit very hard by the pandemic.
As part of our objective to help our neighbourhood cope with the fallout of the pandemic, we will provide Ukraine with emergency macro-financial assistance of €1.2 billion - it's far more than we provide to any other partner. This also shows our continued support to Ukraine's reform agenda.
We are pleased to have concluded the negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding for the new programme. We will continue our strong engagement to support the reform orientation and strategic path that Ukraine has chosen.
The agreed structural policy measures focus on four key areas - public finance management, governance and rule of law, improving the business climate, and state-owned enterprises and the gas market. They reinforce past achievements and send a strong commitment signal to international investors.
With the Prime Minister we discussed the reform agenda of Ukraine. We also want to ensure a clear commitment of Ukraine to central bank independence, including independent bank supervision. This is an essential precondition for financial stability and it's also important for building up confidence and trust and for maintaining good cooperation between Ukraine and its international partners. And I would say the signal I received during today's meeting were reassuring.
We also discussed the upcoming EU-Ukraine Summit on 1 October in Brussels and the implementation of the Association Agreement. The Agreement is delivering results in many areas. Trade in both directions reached a new record in 2019.
So, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his visit to Brussels, that is a good signal for a continued close cooperation between the EU and Ukraine. It is now important to ensure swift adoption, ratification, of the Memorandum of Understanding in the Verkhovna Rada so we can start preparing the disbursement of the first tranche of this emergency support programme. I also want to wish all the best to the new Ukrainian government to deliver on Ukraine's reform agenda, to improve the living standard for the Ukrainian people, and to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. This is our common goal.
Thank you very much and the floor now is to the Prime Minister.