March 9, 2018 / 1:00 PM / in 5 months

EU plans further 1 billion euros of aid to Ukraine

KIEV (Reuters) - The European Commission plans a further 1 billion euros ($1.23 billion) of financial aid for Ukraine, it said on Friday, with disbursement conditional on Kiev making progress on reforms.

The European Union has been one of Ukraine’s biggest backers since the country’s 2013-2014 pro-European uprising ousted its Moscow-backed president. The 28-nation bloc has provided 2.8 billion euros of direct loans as well as other support.

Nevertheless, Kiev’s patchy progress in fighting corruption and overhauling its justice system has concerned its Western backers, who have urged Ukraine’s leaders not to renege on reform promises.

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said the decision to provide further financing demonstrated the EU’s commitment to Ukraine.

“This solidarity must go hand in hand with a continued commitment from the Ukrainian authorities to an ambitious reform agenda to ensure a stable and prosperous Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

The decision comes ahead of a visit by the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, to Kiev in the coming days.

Ukraine failed to meet all the conditions for the disbursement of a final tranche of loans worth 600 million euros under the previous aid programme, which expired in January.

The Commission’s proposal for a fourth macro-financial aid programme to Ukraine still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by David Goodman

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