The Opening of the Representative Office of Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Brussels. April 2015.

The Ukrainian businesses' representative office which opened in Brussels on April 21 has joined the process of searching for business partners, investors, and markets for domestic entrepreneurs. This is extremely important as it is being carried out before the establishment of a free trade area between Ukraine and the European Union (EU), which will become effective as of January 1, 2016.

"Ukraine should fulfill its 'home task' with more responsibility to streamline its economy with the conditions of the Association Agreement with the EU, and increase the influence of civil society on the quality and dynamics of structural reforms in the country. We will suggest focusing on the development of the industrial sphere as well as small- and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the economy, create jobs, and generate tax revenues for the national budget. It's of paramount importance under the conditions of economic crisis and before the changes Ukrainian enterprises will face following the full inauguration of the DCFTA between Ukraine and the EU next year," President of Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ULIE), Anatoliy Kinakh said.

The ULIE Office is developing cooperation with all of the EU institutions – the European Parliament (EP), the European Commission (EC), the External Action Service, etc. Its relations with BUSINESSEUROPE – the leading EU organization of entrepreneurs and employers including more than 40 national entrepreneurs' associations of the Old World, are also very important.

The ULIE Office is planning to include the Ukrainian side in talks on the possible revision of the EU Neighborhood Policy concerning Ukraine, especially its businesses. Eastern Partnership programs for business development, crediting, and training of representatives of the real sector of economy have made a noticeable contribution to the reconstruction of the economies of new EU members, namely Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. They received and continue to obtain funds for the structural modernization of enterprises and increased economic competitiveness. Similar programs for Ukraine exist, which envisage the allocation of around EUR 11 billion until 2020, three quarters of which are loans and the rest are grants. However, merely 3% (between EUR 250 million and EUR 350 million) of these funds are designed for supporting small- and medium-sized businesses, and it is still difficult to receive these funds.

"European support is almost unavailable for Ukrainian businesses, first of all, because of unrealistic conditions of crediting. We will raise this issue when communicating with our European colleagues in order to change the situation, streamline cooperation mechanisms with nowadays reality, and bring specific results," ULIE President Anatoliy Kinakh said.

At the opening of representative office in Brussels, Green Cross Ukraine (GCU) was represented in the person of the President of the organization Maksim Tymoshenko. He presented the humanitarian unit and expressed his views on the business development and cooperation of business structures with environmental organizations and charitable foundations. Also Maksim Tymoshenko emphasized, that the future is the alternative energy sources and new technologies of energy preservation. It is necessary to invest and attract investments to Ukraine exactly in this sphere.

The ULIE Office in Brussels will carry out a very important information function – giving Ukrainian businesses an opportunity to learn about various EU institutions' programs, select the ones that could give our entrepreneurs modernization prospects in line with the DCFTA requirements.

For our European partners ULIE, in partnership with news agency "Interfax-Ukraine" have started a two-week English edition of e-news digest «Ukraine open for Business» and the corresponding website open4business.com.ua, which would provide immediate and objective information on the socio-economic situation in Ukraine, the process of reforms, business conditions, current status and prospects of development of investment, production and trade projects in Ukraine and others.

Many EP members, EC representatives, diplomats, businessmen and public activists, including the management of Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and clergy attended the Office's opening ceremony.

Lolita Kozlova

Green Cross Ukraine Assistant

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