Ukraine to join EU free roaming zone

BRUSSELS

Ukraine is set to join the EU’s free roaming network after the partners signed an agreement on digital cooperation on Monday that paves the way for integration in telecommunications.

Ukraine and the EU held the 8th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council in Brussels with the participation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. enlargement Oliver Varhelyi.

“We have signed the Digital Europe program with a total budget of 7.5 billion euros (7.45 billion dollars) which includes very important digital technologies and also joins the roaming space in the EU”, announced Shmyhal at a joint press conference.

“We are now exploring solid options to fully associate Ukraine with our roaming zone in order to benefit from the same reduced rates between Ukraine and the EU,” explained Varhelyi.

He also added that if Ukraine’s telecommunications market integrates with that of the EU, it will be beneficial “not only for the markets but also for the population to be able to maintain contact”.

Once adopted, people traveling from Ukraine to the EU and EU travelers to Ukraine will be able to make phone calls, send text messages or use mobile data at no additional cost, as in EU member countries .

Shmyhal also thanked the bloc for allocating the first €1 billion ($99.1 million) tranche of the bloc’s €9 billion ($8.9 billion) macro-financial assistance package, who has been a “great help in these very difficult times” and said his country is looking forward to parts two and three.

During the meeting, the executive body of the EU and Ukraine agreed on the disbursement of a budget support program of 500 million euros (497 million dollars), promised by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in April during a campaign – Debout pour l’Ukraine.

The aid will contribute “to housing, restarting education, helping the internally displaced and consolidating the agricultural sector”, Varhelyi said.

The EU and Ukraine have also signed cooperation agreements in customs and tax matters.

For his part, Borrell welcomed that the EU granted candidate status to Ukraine in June and stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intention to “colonize, destroy Ukraine” had ended “in instead of bringing it closer to Europe”.

He reassured Ukraine that the bloc would help “whatever the threat, whatever the blackmail Russia is exerting on us”.

“We will provide political, financial, monetary and military support for as long as it takes and as much as necessary,” Borrell said.

Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war on February 24, the bloc has provided a total of 2.5 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in military aid, including lethal weapons, as well as equipment personal protective equipment, first aid kits and fuel.

He also imposed seven sanctions packages, targeting, among others, President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, banning the import of gold, oil and coal, as well as the export of luxury goods and advanced technologies, as well as the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian banks. of the SWIFT international payment system.

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