|EU offers trade, financial and economic support of 11b euros to nearly bankrupt Ukraine
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso announced an aid package to nearly bankrupt Ukraine of “at least 11 billion euros over the next couple of years.''
Heavily-indebted Ukraine has said it needs 25.5 billion euros.
In December, Russia offered a US$15-billion financial bailout package.
The United States announced a US$1 billion aid package in energy subsidies Tuesday.
This comes as high ranking diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the US, Britain and France prepare to meet in Paris.
Barroso said the aid package was “designed to assist a committed, inclusive and reforms-oriented Ukrainian government.’’
Chief of the EU executive told a news conference the package could offer “overall support of at least 11 billion euros [US$15 billion] over the next couple of years, from the EU budget and EU based international financial institutions.’’
He said he would discuss details of the assistance in Brussels on Thursday with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who will be attending an emergency summit of the EU's 28 leaders.
Barroso said the package consisted of immediate short and medium term measures offering trade, economic, technical and financial assistance to Ukraine.
He detailed it as follows:
* 1.6 billion euros in loans under macro-financial assistance.
* 1.4 billion euros in grants, of which 600 million euros can be disbursed in the next two years.
* 3 billion euros from the European Investment Bank from 2014-2016 and a proposed trust fund in which EU budget money and bilateral money from member states can be pooled.
* Efforts with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to which the EU is a majority shareholder, to release a further 5 billion euros.
Barroso added that the commission would also mobilise 250 million euros to leverage 3.5 billion euros of loans from bankable investment projects.—AFP/AP