Ukraine is currently in a very difficult situation. The territorial integrity of the country is challenged, many Ukrainian citizens are being displaced from their home regions, and the Ukrainian economy is facing straining times. The economy suffers from both recent developments and legacy weaknesses.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, is committed to supporting Ukraine and has adopted a set of exceptional measures to finance EUR 3billion of new loans, for the period 2014 - 2016 as part of the EUR 11 billion EU support package that the European Union committed to in March 2014.

Our activity aims to address three dimensions.

Firstly, we focus on immediate needs arising from the current crisis, particularly in the areas affected by fighting and unrest. Secondly, we support the development of the private sector, including SMEs, helping it become more competitive and make the best use of opportunities for closer exchanges with the rest of Europe. Thirdly, our work assists the development and upgrade of the country’s strategic infrastructure, in the form of energy networks, transport links, and interconnections with the European Union, meeting the growing demand for sustainable energy supplies.

As we come to the end of 2014, the first year of the EIB’s increased support package to the Ukraine, the EU bank is well on track to exceed the planned activities in the country and complete agreements which represent lending of well over EUR 1 billion.

On 1st of December I signed in Kyiv loans to finance improvements in the gas transmission infrastructure along the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline, connecting Ukraine to the EU; and to upgrade the storage and food processing infrastructure of the OJSC Myronivsky Hliboproduct Company, allowing its production capacity to expand. Following the two contracts, worth EUR 150 million and EUR 85 million respectively, the EU bank stands ready to finalize further agreements by the end of this year, including support for SMEs, recovery, education and trade.

The future of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people remains of utmost importance to the EU and to the EIB. The EU bank will continue working closely with Ukraine towards making a real difference for the people – this will be the measure of our joint work and success.