Following a needs assessment mission earlier this year, the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are currently working on targeted and intensified support measures for the Ukrainian regions bordering the Azov Sea.
According to the EU, this will help address and mitigate the socio-economic consequences of recent Russian actions undermining the economic stability of the Azov Sea region and the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Support measures will focus on the following three thematic areas: infrastructure and environment; socio-economic development and resilience, and support to better governance. A key aspect of further EU support will also be its enhanced presence in the region.
To improve the infrastructure and connectivity of the Azov Sea region, the EU and the EIB are designing a number of measures, including feasibility studies for improved road and train connections from Mariupol to Mykolaiv and Zaporyzhia respectively, and preparation of new concessional loans to finance the implementation of these infrastructural projects.
The EIB also envisages specific actions to support municipal infrastructure in the area, including service infrastructure for internally displaced people.
Activities supporting the socio-economic development and resilience of the regions will aim to diversify the local economy and support entrepreneurs, for example through training, advisory or machinery services and small grants, as well as the modernisation of vocational education and training.
In the area of governance, the EU is developing actions to further support civil society and improve civilian security, including coping with the consequences of the ongoing conflict. Support to networks of citizens groups to promote social cohesion and sustainable economic development, as well as psychosocial assistance and empowerment of children and youth affected by the conflict, are also envisaged.
A joint EU project office of the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative and the U-LEAD with Europe programme supporting decentralisation is planned to open soon in Mariupol.
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