EU and Ukraine ink MoU on raw materials and batteries

The European Union and Ukraine have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a strategic partnership in the raw materials sector and batteries, European Commission Vice President for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight Maros Sefcovic said on July 13.

“This new chapter will strengthen our political bond and bring a range of opportunities for EU and Ukraine industry, helping create local jobs linked to the green and digital transitions,” Sefcovic wrote in a tweet after signing the MoU with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

The EU is allocating an additional €750,000 in technical assistance to support capacity building in Ukraine on raw materials and batteries – a figure set to increase next year, Sefcovic added.

The Ukrainian premier said Ukraine and the EU are joining efforts to develop a green economy and create new business opportunities. “Grateful to Maros Sefcovic and EU Commission for the new level of cooperation,” Shmyhal wrote in a tweet.

During press remarks in Kiev at the signing of the Partnership on Raw Materials, Sefcovic noted that Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU. “The idea to expand our cooperation into the area of critical raw materials and batteries was born last October. Today, some nine months later, we are signing a Memorandum of Understanding – the first concrete step in turning that ambition into reality. This is impressive, especially as Ukraine continues to face a daunting array of challenges, not to mention the security situation at its eastern border and in illegally-annexed Crimea,” Sefcovic said.

“I am convinced that this new chapter in EU-Ukraine cooperation will not only strengthen our political bond, but will also bring a wide range of opportunities for European and Ukrainian industry – and ultimately help create and preserve local jobs in future-oriented areas, intrinsically linked to the ongoing green and digital transitions. As we indeed move towards climate-neutral and digital societies, many key sectors – such as renewables, electronics, transport, aerospace and defence – will depend on a reliable and sustainable supply of raw materials at competitive costs,” the EU Commission VP said.

He reiterated that batteries, for their part, are a holy grail of electric mobility and renewable energy storage.

“Ukraine is well placed to become a strong player in critical raw materials and batteries – even poised to lead in these fields within the Eastern Partnership and the Energy Community,” he said.

Sefcovic said Ukraine is set to align its regulatory mining framework to that of the EU, committing to the highest environmental, social and governance standards.

Moreover, the EU and Ukraine will kick-start their cooperation in the area of primary and secondary raw materials in Ukraine by supporting modernization of necessary technologies; paving the way for a circular economy approach; and identifying business-to-business opportunities for the battery value chain on both sides.

“In this context, I am glad to welcome the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology as the newest member of the European Raw Materials Alliance and the European Battery Alliance – both of which act as a driving force behind many projects emerging in the EU,” Sefcovic said.

This year, the EU is allocating an additional €750,000 in technical assistance – a figure set to increase next year. Moreover, joint EU-Ukraine projects will be able to apply directly for funding under Horizon Europe, the biggest research and innovation programme of its kind. “And we will also encourage the greater involvement of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in many of these efforts,” he said.

“If we succeed, this will help us exploit the full potential of our Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas) has boosted EU-Ukraine trade by more than 50 percent since it came into force, and I encourage everyone to make the most of today’s additional impetus,” Sefcovic said, adding, “Again, if we succeed, this will also go a long way towards boosting the resilience of both Ukraine and Europe – especially as we seek to bounce forward and emerge stronger from the current pandemic that has taken a heavy toll on our economies and societies”.

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