Ukraine and Slovakia express readiness to increase reciprocal trade turnover to $1.5 billion per annum against the current showing of almost $1.4 billion and to maintain their status as the core countries providing gas transit to the European Union. This was among the topics for the discussion during the talks of Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman with the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Peter Pellegrini. The meeting was held in Bratislava as part of the visit of the Head of Ukraine’s Government to Slovakia.
"I am pleased to note the growth of bilateral trade last year by almost 18%. But this is insufficient: let's determine the objective to achieve $1.5 billion showings in 2019", said Volodymyr Groysman. The PM added that Slovakia enters TOP 20 trade partners of Ukraine among the countries of the European Union.
As to the transit potential of the two countries, the top officials noted not only the energy component of the issue - Slovakia, for instance, for 4.5 years has provided for reverse supplies of gas to Ukraine - but a transport component as well. Moreover, Volodymyr Groysman offered to work out the issues of creating multi-modal logistics parks in Ukraine and Slovakia, which is conditioned by the growth of the traffic through the rail corridor Asia-Europe. The operation of such parks, tentatively in the Ukrainian city of Chop and Slovak city of Košice, could become a bilateral strategic project. The strengthening of cross-border cooperation between the two countries, including the development of the border infrastructure, the functioning of joint border checkpoints and the establishment of a joint customs control will contribute to the implementation of the aforesaid project.
During the talks, the parties also touched upon political issues in particular, in the context of the prolonged sanctions against Russia through its actions in Donbas and the waters of the Azov Sea. "The aggressor must pay a heavy price for its actions", said Volodymyr Groysman. "Unless Ukraine has stood up, the Russian enemy would have gone further."
The Prime Minister of Ukraine stressed that aggression should be stopped in the energy direction as well. "If we concentrate the delivery of gas in Russian hands - this is a major hazard. Nord Stream 2 project will lead to the physical destruction of the Ukrainian gas transit system as a key element in the delivery of fuel to the EU", said Volodymyr Groysman.
The Slovak party shares the arguments of Ukrainian colleagues and expresses readiness to fully contribute to the further integration of Ukraine into the European Union and NATO.
Separately, the heads of Government discussed opportunities for the development of the Ukrainian community living in Slovakia.