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Ukraine aid programme working, must be finalised by early next year - EU

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Ukraine aid programme working, must be finalised by early next year - EU

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RIGA (Reuters) – European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday the EU’s financial assistance programme for Ukraine was working but that the next tranche of aid need to wrapped up be by late this year or early next. The European Union, International Monetary Fund and friendly Western powers have given Kiev’s pro-Western government money and diplomatic support since the 2014 Maidan protests, which resulted in the toppling of a pro-Russian government, and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. “Ukraine is back to economic growth, has brought down its budget deficit, has brought down inflation, stabilised its currency,” Dombrovskis told Reuters in an interview. “So one can say that the aims of the macro-financial assistance programme (have) been achieved.” But he said Brussels and Kiev were still working on the last tranche of 600 million euros ($709 million) due around year end. The EU has set Ukraine 21 conditions to qualify for more aid, including lifting a ban on wood exports and making sure a landmark anti-corruption reform requiring officials to declare their assets online is properly implemented. There are concerns that Ukraine is backsliding on reforms, especially in tackling deeply entrenched corruption. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in Kiev in July that corruption was undermining Ukraine’s progress to meeting EU standards.

(Reporting by Gederts Gelzis; writing by Matthias Williams Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
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