Kiev, Feb 3 (UiTV/IANS) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed cooperation and Kiev’s European integration, Zelensky’s press service reported.
Speaking after the talks, which took place in Kiev on Thursday ahead of the Ukraine-European Union summit, Zelensky said the visit of von der Leyen and other EU officials to Ukraine marks an important milestone in Ukraine’s European integration, Xinhua news agency reported.
Zelensky said that he received a report from von der Leyen on the second part of the questionnaire that Ukraine had filled out to become a candidate for EU membership.
“This is good news. This report will become the basis for the work of our government,” he said.
At their meeting, Zelensky and von der Leyen talked about trade liberalisation between Ukraine and the EU, financial cooperation, and energy security.
The two sides also touched upon the issues of Ukraine’s post-conflict reconstruction and new sanctions against Russia.
The Ukraine-EU summit, scheduled to take place in Kiev on Friday, will discuss economic, financial, social, energy and humanitarian issues.
Preparations for the next phase of Ukraine’s integration with the EU will also be a topic of the summit, according to the presidential press service.
In June 2022, EU leaders accepted Ukraine as a candidate for membership in the bloc.
Ukraine seeks to extend duty-free trade with EU until end of 2024
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that his country is seeking to extend the duty-free trade with the European Union until the end of 2024, the government press service reported.
While speaking at a meeting with visiting Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis, Shmyhal noted that further deepening of trade relations with the EU is vital for Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia, Xinhua news agency reported.
Shmyhal thanked the EU for the approval of the macro-financial assistance for Ukraine worth 18 billion euros (about $19.76 billion) and called on Brussels to contribute to Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts.
In 2023, Ukraine would need some $17 billion for the post-conflict recovery, he said.
For his part, Dombrovskis said that the EU would continue to fully support Ukraine.
The Ukraine-EU preferential trade regime, abolishing tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian industrial goods and foods, took effect in June 2022.