World Economy

EU Agrees $2b Loan to Ukraine

EU Agrees $2b Loan to UkraineEU Agrees $2b Loan to Ukraine

The EU has agreed a €1.8 billion ($2 billion) loan to Ukraine – described as a landmark deal for a non-EU member.

The agreement was signed at an EU summit in Riga, Latvia, with the leaders of six post-Soviet nations, BBC reported.

The loan aims to help cash-strapped Ukraine implement economic reforms, as fighting with pro-Russian rebels in the east has taken a heavy toll.

Ukraine is under pressure from the EU and other international lenders to curb corruption and liberalize the economy.

In Riga, the EU also pledged €200 million in grants to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have signed association agreements with the 28-nation bloc. The other “Eastern Partnership” countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus.

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are pushing for full integration with the EU, while the other three countries prefer limited cooperation with the bloc.

In addition, Armenia and Belarus are members of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, seen by some analysts as a rival project to the EU.

The Riga summit declaration criticized Russia for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula last year.

“The acts against Ukraine and the events in Georgia since 2014 have shown that the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders cannot be taken for granted in the 21st century on the European continent,” it said.

“The EU remains committed in its support to the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all its partners.”

The declaration recognized “the sovereign right of each partner freely to choose the level of ambition and the goals to which it aspires” in ties with the EU.