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Infrastructure development and European integration

Infrastructure development and European integration are the main and permanent priorities of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, which complement each other. Further development and deepening of the EU–Ukraine relations are based on the principles of political association and economic integration. It will contribute to the implementation of the best European standards in the field of infrastructure and give positive changes are at the macro and micro levels.

Since the beginning of the Ministry's work in 1992, one of the pivotal tasks has been to establish firm relations with European counterparts and to develop convenient and safety connections between our regions. Ukraine, as a new European country, had to become a reliable transcontinental transit country for the neighboring states and a business partner for the European Union. In this regard, the Ministry had been entrusted a great responsibility to preserve existing transport and logistic systems as well as building the new ones, with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Over a 25 years period of work, more than 200 international agreements have been concluded, most of which have been signed with the European partners. The Ministry has always been an active coordinator and participant in the development and implementation of international projects and programmes related to the infrastructure and logistics, in particular, the European TACIS Programme for the Newly Independent States of Europe and Asia. Taking into account the geo-economic location of our country, TACIS experts considered Ukraine as an important transit country for trade among the newly independent states, Western Europe and other countries of the world, through the Black Sea ports. Moreover, they emphasized the importance of transport sector

When Ukraine joined to the International transport programme TRACECA in 1993 (as an alternative to international transport corridors across Russia), the Ministry became an active participant in the development of conceptual foundations and mechanisms for the practical implementation of the project. Ukrainian transport specialists cooperated in working groups on different issues in order to establish an effective collaboration with international partners, in particular, to promote the development of common policy on transit fees and tariffs as well as to simplify the procedure at Customs offices of participating countries.

One of the largest projects which had been successfully implemented within the TRACECA is the reconstruction of the railway terminal in the port of Chornomorsk for a multimodal usage. (6.4 million euros). Since the end of 2001, the implementation of two technical assistance projects has been started: harmonization of border crossing procedures and the single policy on transport fees and tariffs. Throughout the time of participation in the TRAСECA, the Minister and his deputies on behalf of the Ministry always take part in all official events of the project.

On June 1, 2016, the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission of TRACECA took place in Odesa. During the meeting, the chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Commission was handed over from Turkey to Ukraine, therefore, Volodymyr Omelyan, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, became the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Commission of TRACECA. Based on the TRACECA Master Plan and the proposals of the TRACECA member states, the Strategy of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission on the development of the international transport corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia for the period of 2016-26 has been developed and approved.

On September 8, 2016, the International Transport Conference 2016 "Integrated Transport Corridors Europe-Asia" took place in Odessa. The conference has been attended by more than 140 participants: representatives of the European Union, international financial organizations, international organizations such as UNECE, MUK TRACECA, GUAM, BSEC, OSCE, OSS, representatives of transport ministries, railway companies, port administrations, operators and other governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions of the EU Member States, the states of the Eastern Partnership and those of the Caucasus and Asian regions.

During the conference, 3 practical sessions have been successfully held. They were devoted to the international policy of development of transport corridors, implementation of joint initiatives in Europe-Asia, as well as promising projects and initiatives for the development of priority transport networks. The potential possibilities of the development of new trade routes as well as their impact on the transport networks’ formation among the participating countries were discussed. In addition, the participants addressed the challenges faced by the transport sector to fulfil these tasks.

All participants noted that the International Transport Conference 2016 has become a successful platform, which presented major initiatives and projects on the development of transport networks, both on the national and international levels. Volodymyr Omelyan, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, reported on Ukraine's policy and strategy regarding the development of transport corridors through Ukraine, implementation of transport initiatives such as "One Belt - One Road" and "Baltic Sea - Black Sea - Caspian Sea". Viktor Dovhan, the Deputy Minister on the European Integration, told about stable and efficient functioning of transport network in the Baltic, Black and Caspian Sea regions, and organisation of a free movement of goods for all types of transport.

According to the results of the ITC 2016, the Joint Declaration was adopted in which reflected  reached agreements and intentions for the development of integrated transport connections between Europe and Asia.

On November 21, 2016, a regular meeting of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Commission TRACECA took place in Kyiv. Ukraine, as a chair in TRACECA for 2016-2017, began to develop a comprehensive action plan. Volodymyr Omelyan, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, stressed that Ukraine is ready to present a number of initiatives aimed on improving of efficiency of the TRACECA corridor. In particular, the Minister singled out the importance of development of joint action plan for multimodal transport solutions through the TRACECA corridor, the implementation of the electronic logistics system for the TRACECA transport corridor, the initiative on a new EU technical assistance projects within the TRACECA programme, the enhancing the TRACECA corridor as well as the Trans-European Transport Network. Volodymyr Omelyan emphasized that the development of new transit connections and corridors from the EU to Asia is a priority for Ukraine. Foundation of new international transport corridor «The Baltic Sea - Black Sea - Caspian Sea» will contribute to the establishment of integrated strategy for transportation development and loading of existing infrastructure along the route.

The Minister also noted that the expansion of the Trans-European Transport Network’s map in relation to neighboring countries is the first step to ensure coordination in the field of infrastructure planning. It is also the first step in promoting of the EU standards. Generally, such measures will help to reduce transport costs and increase the overall efficiency of transport operations. Volodymyr Omelyan also emphasized that the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine will move towards to the development of strong ties with leading countries of the region and to the effective work of the project of the New Silk Road.

On February 21, 2017, during the UNECE Ministerial Meeting, Volodymyr Omelyan, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, met with Mircea Chiograga, the Secretary General of TRACECA. They discussed issues concerning digitalization of the transport industry, new information platform and deepening of constructive relations within the TRACECA.

Ukraine is the first country among countries that implemented the TACIS program that became a participant of new EU Twinning project. The new EU Twinning project is an institutional development tool and a new form of direct technical cooperation between the authorities of the EU Member States and the beneficiary countries. The operation of the Twinning instrument in Ukraine demonstrates the importance of deepening integration between Ukraine and the European Union.

In January 2016, the project "Support for the implementation of the Association Agreement and the National Transport Strategy" undertaken by the European Union has been finally launched. The purpose of the project is to promote integration and modernization of the Ukraine`s transport sector and its several branches in accordance with the obligations under the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Moreover, the project promotes updating of the National Transport Strategy of Ukraine in accordance with the EU legislation, its standards and requirements with its further support in the implementation.

In November 2017 a project within the Twinning "Support to the Ministry of Infrastructure in establishing conditions for application of the European Model of Railway in Ukraine" was finally launched (project implementation period: 2016-2018). This is the second technical assistance project on the reform of the railways of Ukraine. The previous one was completed last year and was recognized as one of the most successful Twinning projects in Ukraine. European experts also provided assistance in the development of structural transformations both in Ukrzaliznytsya and in the railway transport market in accordance with European principles.

On March 2, 2017, Viktor Dovhan, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure on European Integration, reported on the results of the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and presented the achievements made throughout the year in transport and postal services.

Viktor Dovhan emphasized that the alternative bills on the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with the EU legislation have been already prepared, and the implementation of the Quality Charter for international road freight in the ECMT multilateral quota system has been approved.

Furthermore, the State Aviation Service and the European Aviation Safety Agency signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of civil aviation security. In addition, the agreement with the European Commission on the convergence of certification systems and the plan of measures for the introduction of a common aviation space between Ukraine and the EU member states has been reached.

In 2017, among core priorities are signing of the Open Skies Agreement and bilateral liberalization of air services with the EU states.

In railway transport sector, there are also some achievements. Recently, a bill on the rail transport has been elaborated and work on a draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the establishment of the State Service in the field of rail transport has been completed. Moreover, PJSC "Ukrainian Railways» has been established.

The Government of Ukraine has also introduced a Roadmap for harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with the EU legislation in the field of international maritime transport. According to the government decree, "On the Establishment of the State Service for Maritime and inland water transport of Ukraine" has been developed and preparations for the audit of the International Maritime Organization are being carried out.

Consequently, the Ministry creates a legislative framework that will allow the implementation of up to 70% of the EU norms in the relevant fields as soon as possible.

The priority of the Ministry of Infrastructure in 2017 is to develop the National Transport Strategy 2030 and integration of transport network into the pan-European TEN-T.