Europe proposes economic relief for Ukraine

March 11, 2014 at 11:20 AM
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BRUSSELS, March 11 (UPI) -- The European Commission said Tuesday it was considering giving Ukraine temporary relief on customs duties until November 1, when formal deals are expected.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday the European community was ready to act swiftly to help Ukraine arrest its economic decline.

"The commission is moving ahead fast with the implementation of this support package, and today has adopted the first of the foreseen measures -- a set of trade provisions that will represent an economic benefit to Ukraine of around $690 million per year," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said ousted President Viktor Yanukovych left the Ukrainian economy in ruins.

Reza Moghadam, European director for the International Monetary Fund, said following last week's visit to Ukraine his office was ready to help put "Ukraine firmly on the path of good economic governance and sustainable growth."

Yanukovych left Ukraine in February following months of protests over his November decision to suspend efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the European Union. A Kremlin ally, he said the decision was made to protect economic ties to Russia.

Barroso's office said Tuesday a comprehensive free trade agreement should be signed between the EU and Ukraine by Nov. 1.

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