Latvia lauds "major step" forward by Ukraine

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Latvia offered words of encouragement to Ukraine April 4 after the Ukrainian parliament passed a major reform package in its first reading.

"Amendments to legislative acts concerning the circulation and sale of agricultural land were adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 31 March 2020 and a bill supported at first reading on amendments enabling improvements to mechanisms for regulation of banking activities represent a major step towards closer integration of Ukraine with the European Union," said a statement from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Despite various serious challenges, Ukraine has demonstrated considerable progress with the implementation of necessary reforms as stipulated in the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The adoption of these bills are also expected to facilitate applications for IMF loans, and funding by the EU and other international donors so important for the further overall modernisation of the country on its broader path of reform," the MFA said.

Approval of the new amendments provides for the opening of the land market for the purchase of farmland by natural persons with Ukrainian citizenship beginning in 2021 and for Ukrainian legal entities beginning in 2024. There has been considerable debate witin Ukraine on whether foreigners should also be allowed to purchase farmland.

"Latvia hopes that the approval of the bill on amendments to the legislative acts of Ukraine on improvement of mechanisms for regulation of banking activities will take place at the second reading. Adoption of effective rules to regulate banking is part of the conditions set by  the International Monetary Fund and the EU for Ukraine to receive financial support and well as ensuring the security of the support received," the Latvian MFA said.

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