Press release Brussels, 9 April 2014
This Support Group will provide a focal point, structure, overview and guidance for the Commission's work to support Ukraine. It will also help mobilise Member States' expertise and further enhance coordination with other donors and the International Financing Institutions.
Commissioner for enlargement and neighbourhood policy Stefan Füle will coordinate this Support Group, which will report to President Barroso and High Representative/Vice- President Catherine Ashton and will draw on the contributions of all relevant Commission portfolios.
"The European Commission is determined to help Ukraine for the long term.", said President Barroso. "The Commission has already proposed an overall support package worth of at least €11 billion over the next couple of years and some of these measures are already being rolled out. The political chapters of the Association Agreement have been signed, sealing the free and democratic choice of Ukraine to be closely associated with the European Union. Today's decision to create a Support Group will ensure that the Ukrainian authorities have all the support they need in undertaking the political and economic reforms that are necessary to stabilise the country. Our common goal is to have a democratic, independent and prosperous Ukraine."
In the immediate short-term (until end 2014), the Support Group will identify and coordinate with the Ukrainian authorities, benefitting from input from the Member States, the technical assistance that they need to 1) stabilise the fragile financial, economic and political situation in Ukraine; 2) plan and implement reforms to boost growth and 3) identify reform priorities and advance the reforms necessary to ensure that immediate benefits can be obtained from the EU offer (Association Agreement and Visa Liberalisation Action Plan).
In the medium term (from 2015), the goal of the Support Group will be to further support Ukraine in the elaboration and implementation of comprehensive reform programmes.
The work of the Support Group will be based on the "European agenda for reform", a document prepared with the Ukrainian authorities to match the EU's short- and mid-term support actions with Ukraine needs.
The Support Group will be based in Brussels, with its staff travelling to Ukraine as necessary. Ukraine will be invited to set up a central co-ordination structure able to oversee the implementation of the broad reform programme as well as the Association Agreement and to co-ordinate the work on the creation of the necessary national bodies/structures.
In addition, a platform for donor co-ordination will be established which will act as the vehicle for mobilisation of resources and expertise from the broader international environment to support implementation of these reform priorities
The Support Group will be headed by Mr Peter Balas, currently Deputy Director General in the Trade Directorate-General. The Support Group will be administratively attached to the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation, and shall consist of:
A Head of Support Group
Up to 30 full-time officials
Seconded National Experts
The Head of the Support Group shall report to the President and the High Representative/Vice President under the guidance of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.
The work of the Support Group could be extended also to Georgia and Moldova by a decision of the President of the Commission and the Vice-President for Personnel.
For more information
Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen (+32 2 295 30 70)
Maja Kocijancic (+32 2 298 65 70)
Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)
For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by email