BRUSSELS, July 8 (UPI) -- Energy sector reform in Ukraine is a condition for further financial support from the European Union, commissioner Stefan Fule said Tuesday from Brussels.
Neighborhood Commissioner Fule convened a donor's conference for Ukraine in Brussels. Ukraine's economy is in trouble, though it recently signed free-trade and association agreements with the European Union.
The European Commission in March presented a support package worth $15 billion over the next seven years to help stabilize Ukraine. Fule said a condition for what he said was sustainable stabilization in Ukraine is progress on its reform agenda.
"We also need to see further action on the economy, trade and business and in the energy sector," he said in his address. "Any further financial support from the European Union will be linked to and dependent on ongoing reform efforts."
European leaders have called on Ukraine to secure its energy supply through diversification and through developments that would make its gas transit system more fluid.
Russia uses a Soviet-era gas transit system through Ukraine for the delivery of most of its natural gas to European consumers.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said following an April meeting with Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico a move to reverse gas flows from Slovakia to Ukraine was a positive step toward gas diversification.