Ukrainian PM names five key sectors for country to focus on as future EU member

Monday, 18 March 2024

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has identified five sectors – defence, energy, agriculture, raw materials and digital services – in which Ukraine hopes to make a name for itself as a future member of the European Union.

Shmyhal in an interview with Euractiv placed a particular emphasis on Ukraine's defence and military sector.

"Ukraine is a hub of military and defence technology, produces new high-tech equipment, and has the potential to be the Shield and Arsenal of Europe and strengthen the defence capacities of the EU," he said.

"We now have one of the strongest military defence forces in the world, with many years of experience – real experience – on the battlefield; this can strengthen the European defence system," Shmyhal pointed out.


Shmyhal also stated that Ukraine could become an energy hub and "gas station" for Europe. He added that Ukraine could "bring stability and added capacity, both energywise and economically," to the EU.

"We survived through two very difficult winters when Russia terrorised our energy infrastructure, but our energy network still operates at a surplus, and we can supply clean green energy to the European market," said Shmyhal.

"We have one of the largest underground gas storage reservoirs on the continent – 33 billion cubic metres, very secure and in territory [held by Ukraine] – which many European companies already use right now. We could easily increase this capacity by 10 to 15 billion cubic metres," Shmyhal stressed. 

Shmyhal pointed out that Ukraine can also "bring more stability to the global food market, and with us, the EU could be a strong geopolitical player when it comes to food stability and security in the world."

He dismissed concerns that some EU member states might want to slow down Ukraine's accession due to current allegations of unfair trade practices.

"We have no intention of engaging in unfair competition with our neighbours, [core] European countries and the farmers of Europe. This is why we ask the European Commission to open the negotiation process with the agricultural [chapter], to speed up the alignment of our rules and regulations," he noted.

Shmyhal added that Kyiv would be ready to compete according to EU rules and would be "open to communication, negotiation and compromises."

Shmyhal is convinced that Ukraine will bring the EU much more than the accession process will cost the EU.

He also reiterated Ukraine's desire to start accession talks with the EU in the first half of this year. 

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