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EU-Ukraine: Responding
to the challenges together

Media Digest, May 2023

The latest edition of the Media Digest covers publications on the main events in May that reflect the state and prospects of relations between the European Union and Ukraine.


9 May is Europe Day – from 2023 on also in Ukraine! Peace is at the heart of the EU. But Russia has brought war back to Europe.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of 24 February 2022, the EU has significantly stepped up its support to Ukraine. We are pushing hard our political, financial, military and humanitarian assistance and imposing tough sanctions against Russia.

At the same time, Ukraine is working to meet the seven criteria for EU membership, the European Union is supporting development projects in Ukraine – recovery and reconstruction plans are being drawn up, grants are being awarded to Ukrainian artists, and the European Innovation Council has announced the launch of a programme for Ukrainian startups.

<span style="color: white; ">Photo: Ursula von der Leyen<br />@vonderleyen</span>
Photo: Ursula von der Leyen

Happy Europe Day!

While Ukraine, like the rest of the world, has long celebrated the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on 8 May, Europe Day was first celebrated on 9 May with the European Union. Europe Day, along with its anthem, flag and slogan, is the official symbol of the EU and was established to commemorate the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950.

To demonstrate Europe’s unity with Ukraine and the irreversibility of Ukraine’s path to the European family, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv on 9 May.

<span style="color: white; background-color: #00000080;">website of the European Parliament</span>
website of the European Parliament

«President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine know exactly what they are fighting for»

The 2023 Charlemagne Prize was awarded to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine in Aachen. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: «Ukraine incarnates everything the European idea is living for: the courage of convictions, the fight for values and freedom, the commitment to peace and unity. This is why I am convinced that Ukraine will prevail, it will win peace and make its European destiny come true».

Ursula von der Leyen, @vonderleyen
Ursula von der Leyen,

Russia must not hope for «EU fatigue on Ukraine»

The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has said that in 15 months of war, Russia has not given up its intention to «subjugate» Ukraine and continues to destroy it. That is why it is essential to provide long-term instruments to support Kyiv. He supported the supply of long-range weapons to Ukraine to enable it to respond adequately to Russian aggression. According to Borrell, the only acceptable formula for peace today is the one proposed by Ukraine itself.

Read more today

Photo: depositphotos
Photo: depositphotos

Seven criteria that really determine the future

Despite the war and with the efforts of Ukrainians and the European Union, Ukraine is fighting and reforming at the same time. The prospect of EU membership has become a powerful incentive, so the experts’ conclusions on Ukraine’s fulfillment of the seven criteria are optimistic but do not look reassuringly calming.


EU Ambassador, Matti Maasikas: EU welcomes Ukraine’s law enforcement reform strategy

On 11 May, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved Ukraine’s strategic plan for law enforcement reform. The document, which runs until 2027, aims to ensure that Ukraine’s judicial and law enforcement systems align with the country’s goal of rapid EU accession.


Stronger together!

Ukraine has joined the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism, the world’s largest system for coordinated international assistance in emergency situations.

Since the start of the war with Russia, thousands of tons of humanitarian aid have been delivered to Ukraine through the Mechanism, and in October, Ukraine received a roadmap to join the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.



For the first time European Commission presents economic forecast for Ukraine

The European Commission’s first economic forecast for Ukraine says the country’s economy has shown «remarkable resilience» despite the war with Russia. After falling by around 29% in 2022, it is expected to «grow by 0.6% this year and by 4.0% in 2024». The outlook for Ukraine depends crucially on how the war unfolds, but there are grounds for cautious optimism.

Photo: website of the European Parliament
Photo: website of the European Parliament

Import duties put on hold

The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee has agreed to further suspend EU import duties on Ukrainian exports for one year to support the Ukrainian economy. The proposal was agreed by the permanent representatives of the EU countries on 28 April. The decision was adopted with 537 votes in favor, 42 against and 38 abstentions.

Photo: Open sources
Photo: Open sources

European Innovation Council to support Ukrainian deep- tech startups

The €20 million programme aims to support at least 200 Ukrainian deep- tech startups with up to €60,000 each. The funds will be used for financial and non-financial support instruments: programmes for tech entrepreneurs at different stages, including incubation, acceleration and market entry. The first startups will get funding in 2023.

Photo: Open sources
Photo: Open sources

Digitization as a guarantee of transparency and a tool for rebuilding communities

In February, the EU decided to allocate €17.4 million to Ukraine as part of the Digital Transformation for Ukraine project to ensure the introduction of efficient and accessible public services and rapid response to the challenges of the war.

In addition, the principles of digitization will be (and are already being) implemented by municipalities. As Ukraine rebuilds, this should become a tool for the transparent use of large sums of money, including donor funds.


Photo: Open sources
Photo: Open sources

Ukrainian gas storage and European energy security

The European Commission has launched the REPowerEU initiative to overcome the EU’s dependence on gas from the aggressor country by 2030. In particular, it aims to create fuel reserves in case of force majeure and for a sustainable heating season. The main requirement for the storage facilities is independence from structures linked to Russia: any operator must be certified and prove it.

What does this mean for Ukraine?

Photo: Open sources
Photo: Open sources

Covenant of Mayors: recovery and development strategies for Ukraine

The high-profile event in Lviv discussed recovery strategies at all levels – from the state to local communities. But the focus was on the environment and energy saving, which are priorities for a peaceful world and crucial for war-torn Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Russia caused almost UAH 2 trillion worth of damage to Ukraine’s environment during the full- scale invasion. Since the war is still going on, this is only a preliminary estimate.


Photo: Open sources
Photo: Open sources

Supporting and protecting

The EU has allocated €1.9 million to support UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in the operation of 5 mobile emergency obstetric and newborn care units in the war-affected areas of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts. The programme will establish ten gynecological wards and support the operation of 14 existing wards. The programme will also support medical staff in dealing with cases of gender- based violence and addressing the needs of women with disabilities.


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Media Digest was prepared by ‘Communicating EU to Ukrainians’ project (CEU4U), which is financed by the European Union.

Contact person: Anton Teretyshnyk, media expert, EU Project “Communicating EU for Ukrainians” (CEU4U),

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