L-R: Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine's Prime Minister; Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg's Prime Minister; Credit: © SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

On Friday 12 February 2021, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, as well as several members of the Ukrainian government undertook a working visit to Luxembourg.

Prime Ministers

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel received his Ukrainian counterpart at the Hôtel Saint-Maximin (Ministry of State) in Luxembourg-Ville. The agenda of the meeting included bilateral relations between Ukraine and Luxembourg. On this subject, the two Prime Ministers analysed the potential for further cooperation in the future. They then took stock of the health situation in the respective countries as well as the efforts to supply COVID-19 vaccines. Finally, discussions focussed on the prospects for settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk Protocol, as well as on the current situation in occupied Crimea. Luxembourg's Prime Minister expressed his hope and encouragement for the parties to agree on means to definitively end the war and restore stability in the eastern part of the country. He also encouraged his Ukrainian counterpart to continue the reforms underway, in particular to fight corruption and strengthen the rule of law.

Foreign Ministers

In parallel, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, received Olha Stefanyshyna, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, and Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine's First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, for a working meeting at the Mansfeld building (Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs) in Luxembourg-Ville. The ministers first looked at bilateral relations and how to develop them. Minister Jean Asselborn recalled the humanitarian aid provided by the European Union (EU) and its Member States, including Luxembourg, which has allocated around €3 million to respond to humanitarian needs in the East of Ukraine since 2014. In 2021, Luxembourg will continue its efforts to help the population in eastern Ukraine and alleviate the humanitarian crisis through the Luxembourg Red Cross and the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund (UHF) of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Ministers Jean Asselborn, Olha Stefanyshyna and Emine Dzhaparova also exchanged views on internal reforms and the human rights situation in Ukraine, including in Crimea, before discussing EU-Ukraine relations and the future of the Eastern Partnership. Finally, the discussion focussed on the situation in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Like Luxembourg's Prime Minister, Minister Jean Asselborn encouraged the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, stressing that Luxembourg continues to support the efforts made to this end by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as well as Germany and France in the "Normandy" format. The ministers welcomed the good cooperation between Luxembourg and Ukraine in multilateral fora and in particular at the UN.

Economy Ministers

Bilateral economic relations dominated the meeting between Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot and Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, Taras Kachka. ArcelorMittal, Paul Wurth and SES are among the Luxembourgish companies active in Ukraine. In addition to the economic situation following the pandemic and the business support measures that have been implemented in this context in the two countries, discussions between the two ministers focussed in particular on strengthening bilateral cooperation in the space sector and in the field of start-up support.

Digitalisation Ministers

Luxembourg's Minister Delegate for Digitalisation, Marc Hansen, received Ukrain'es Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, at the Hôtel de Bourgogne (Ministry for Digitalisation) in Luxembourg-Ville. Minister Delegate Marc Hansen presented to his counterpart the strategic axes of the Ministry of Digitalisation, particularly recent developments in electronic governance. He then detailed the Guichet.lu and MyGuichet.lu portals and their functionalities such as GouvCheck. Minister Mykhailo Fedorov took stock of his ministry's experiences since its creation in 2019 and outlined Ukraine's ambitious digital goals. Regarding the essential role of new technologies in digital transformation, Ministers Marc Hansen and Mykhailo Fedorov discussed, among other things, the challenges to be taken up in the field of the digitalisation of official documents as well as the potential of digital wallets.

Agriculture Ministers

Taras Kachka, Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, then met with Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Romain Schneider. Discussions focussed on the opportunities and prospects for cooperation in the fields of agriculture and agri-food trade, the resilience of agriculture to climate change as well as the investment and support policy for agriculture impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The ministers also discussed the profile and development of Luxembourgish wine production.

Transport Ministers

At the beginning of the afternoon, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, received his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladyslav Kryklii, in Luxembourg-Kirchberg. Ukrain'es Minister of Infrastructure and Luxembourg's Mobility Minister discussed the opportunity of air connectivity between the two countries, as well as the various investment programmes in Ukraine and Luxembourg's experience in the field of passenger transport and rail and air freight.