Unblocking the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, cooperation in cybersecurity, financial support for Ukraine and humanitarian demining were the topics discussed by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yuliia Svyrydenko at an online meeting with First Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation Nadia Calviño on 20 July.
“The Ministry of Economy is focused on supporting and developing the private sector. Indeed, business is the engine of the Ukrainian economy and the key to rebuilding the country. We are currently focusing on construction, energy, IT, agriculture, especially the processing industry, which has great potential and creates added value, and we are also planning to create a powerful military-industrial complex to ensure the security of the country and Europe. We invite the Spanish business community to cooperate and contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine,” said Yuliia Svyrydenko.
According to Nadia Calviño, Spain is interested in supporting Ukraine’s private sector, in particular by providing EUR 70 million in financial support to Ukrainian SMEs through the European Investment Bank. The funds will be used for reconstruction projects. Spain is also launching a new EUR 70 million guarantee fund for Spanish companies exporting to Ukraine.
The parties also discussed Ukraine’s trade with the EU, in particular, the prevention of trade restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products. This refers to the European Commission’s decision to extend restrictions on imports of certain Ukrainian agricultural products until mid-September 2023. Blocking Ukrainian grain poses a threat to global food security. We should also take into account russia’s aggression against Ukraine and attempts to destroy the Ukrainian agricultural sector in order to weaken the country’s defence capabilities.
“We hope that the Spanish government will not support the extension of the European Commission’s restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products. It is also important to find a common solution to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain by sea, because blocking exports means blocking the Ukrainian economy. This is one of the most important issues for Ukraine,” said Yuliia Svyrydenko.
Yuliia Svyrydenko also stressed the importance of humanitarian demining. According to her, Ukraine cannot solve this problem on its own due to very limited resources: Ukraine has 20 demining vehicles and 3,000 mine clearance engineers, while the area of potentially contaminated territories is 174,000 square kilometres. This is a very important activity, and the survey and demining of the land must be carried out quickly, as the safety of people and the return of Ukrainians to their homes is at stake. In turn, the Spanish side pledged to explore its market for heavy demining equipment and to train 240 Ukrainian deminers.