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Pulse of The Week 3: Ukrainian public opinion on the issues of the day

by EUToday Correspondents
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Pulse of The Week

Meeting of the UN Security Council: main points in the context of Ukraine

The 78th session of the UN General Assembly’s been taking place in New York, where the main topic was “Rebuilding trust and global solidarity”.

US President Joe Biden was among the first to speak at the Assembly. In his speech, he gave a number of reasons why the world should support Ukraine in its defence against Russian aggression, and not force it to make concessions.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, also delivered a speech from the main podium of the world and outlined the Ukrainian view of a just peace.

In particular, Zelensky asserted that the UN is incapable of resisting Russian aggression due to
Russia’s veto power. Therefore, the key reform of the UN should concern the use of the right to veto, because “the veto should not serve as a weapon for those who are obsessed with hatred and war.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Annalena Baerbock, urged to give a decisive signal against the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, because of the aggressive war against Ukraine.

Vasilii Nebenzia, the ambassador of Russia to the UN, tried to prevent the Ukrainian president from giving his speech. The Russian was indignant that Zelensky was given the privilege to speak earlier. According to the regulations, the President of Ukraine spoke second, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Lavrov – the twelfth. Volodymyr Zelensky left the UN Security Council meeting hall before Lavrov began speaking.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke about Russia violating the international order. “It is hard to imagine a country showing more contempt for the UN and everything it stands for. This is coming from a country that has a permanent seat in this Council,” he added.

Sources: Ukrinform, UNIAN

The conflict over Ukrainian grain: will a solution be found?

During the week, the situation regarding the ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products to the EU countries received some development.

The European Commission called on the authorities of Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to be constructive after they unilaterally announced that they would continue to ban the import of Ukrainian grain. The Ministry of Economy of Ukraine announced that it filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization against the specified countries due to their extending the ban.

Ukraine proposed a plan setting out that permits for grain exports would be issued by the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine after consultations with the European Commission and Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. However, “the final decision would be up to Kyiv”, regardless of the results of the consultations. Neighboring countries rejected this plan.

On September 19th, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine may decide to ban the import of certain categories of goods from Poland and Hungary. And the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, threatened in this case to ban the import of a larger list of Ukrainian products into Poland.

On September 20th, Deputy Minister of Economy Taras Kachka announced that Ukraine offered Poland a consensus regarding Ukrainian agricultural production, which “actually takes into account all the concerns of Polish farmers.”

On September 22nd, the Minister of Agriculture of Poland, Robert Telus, said that Poland is ready to discuss the terms of grain supplies with Ukraine, if “the interests of Polish farmers are protected and Ukrainian grain does not enter Poland.”

Sources: UNIAN

In 2024, the national debt of Ukraine will exceed 100% of GDP

The forecast amount of the national debt of Ukraine in 2024 will be more than 8.18 trillion hryvnias or 104.6% of GDP.

This is stated in the explanatory note to the draft state budget of Ukraine for the next year, which the Cabinet of Ministers submitted for consideration to the parliament. At the same time, the government notes that, taking into account the structure of state borrowing in 2023 and projected borrowing in 2024, by the end of 2024 the share of state domestic debt will be 20% of the state debt, and the share of state external debt will be 80%, respectively.

At the same time, the Cabinet of Ministers expects to receive $5.4 billion in 2024 as part of the four-year cooperation program with the International Monetary Fund.

This was an announcement that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal made at the government meeting, adding that the program of cooperation with the IMF will allow attracting other financial support. “As it has been this year, next year we will need 50 financial support from partners in the amount of about 42 billion dollars. We already understand where these funds can come from. These are the EU program Ukraine Facility, the aid of the United States, the IMF program and the aid of our other friends and partners. The anchor of financing is, of course, the program of cooperation with the IMF, in 2024 we expect tranches from the fund in the amount of 5.4 billion dollars,” Shmyhal said.

He also reminded that Ukraine has long-term cooperation programs with Norway and Japan, as well as cooperation with Canada and other partners. “We already have a vision of how we can close financing for the next year,” the Prime Minister summed up.

Sources: Suspilne, Ukrainska Pravda

Poland announced that next year aid to Ukrainian refugees will be discontinued

On September 20th, in Poland they started talking about the possibility of ending aid to Ukrainian refugees beginning next year.

Support for refugees, which includes the abolition of residence and work permit requirements, free access to schools, health care and family benefits, will not be extended next year, government official Peter Müller said.

Polish Minister for European Union Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said that the Polish authorities may reduce support for Ukraine due to the crisis caused by the import of Ukrainian food. The official emphasised that the decision will not be changed, as the country’s government take the interests of farmers seriously and is “unbending” in this matter.

The European Commission proposed to extend temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine until March 3rd, 2025. This will provide support for more than 4 million people who are benefiting from protection across the EU. Now, it is the European Council that has to support this proposal of the European Commission.

The procedure of extending the directive will not require a unanimous vote and can be approved by a qualified majority vote. Experts predict that the EU Council will first try to approve the decision unanimously during a meeting of EU interior ministers to demonstrate EU unity. But if Warsaw starts blocking it, the decision will be made by the majority.

According to the statement of the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, after the extension of this directive is approved, the member states will be obliged to implement it.

Sources: Radio Svoboda, UNIAN

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