Today in Kyiv, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, signed two Arrangements for Cooperation with Ukraine on behalf of the Commission in the context of the EU‘s support to Ukraine as the country deals with the consequences of Russia‘s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression.
Stronger cooperation on Education
After having met Ukraine‘s Minister of Education and Science, Oksen Lisovyi, Vice-President Schinas and Minister Lisovyi jointly signed an Arrangement for Cooperation on Education between the European Commission and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Both parties agreed to strengthen and further develop cooperation and dialogue in this field.
Through this arrangement, the Commission has reiterated the standing invitation to Ukrainian authorities to participate in the working groups and peer learning activities under the European Education Area Strategic Framework. This will allow Ukraine to further align with the EU‘s acquis in the area of education and, amongst others, to facilitate the mutual recognition of academic qualifications. The Commission has also opened up participation in the Eurydice Network to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine to get a deeper understanding of the respective education systems and their cooperation in education.
Vice-President Schinas encouraged Ukrainians to take full advantage of the opportunities offered to them through the Erasmus+ Programme, from strengthened cooperation between schools to the potential of the Commission’s online platforms on education, most notably eTwinning, the online community of European teachers and educators. The Commission also welcomed further efforts by Ukraine to encourage schooling in the EU Member States.
In addition, the Vice-President also today announced the extension of Ukraine‘s participation in the EU‘s flagship Erasmus+ programme. The Commission is opening up the possibility for Ukrainian organisations to participate – as of 2024 – in international cooperation projects in the framework of Erasmus+ Capacity Building Actions in the field of Youth and Sport.
Stronger cooperation on Health
Vice-President Schinas and Ukraine‘s Minister of Health, Viktor Liashko jointly signed an Arrangement for Cooperation on Health between the European Commission and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. Both parties agreed to strengthen and further develop cooperation and dialogue in this field.
The Russian aggression against Ukraine has had devastating consequences for the health of thousands of people, destroying vital lifesaving health care facilities and health systems.Through this arrangement, the Commission reiterates the standing support to Ukraine’s healthcare system, as well as to those who have to flee the country. Under the EU‘s MEDEVAC system, more than 2,250 patients have already been evacuated from Ukraine for medical treatment in the EU and EEA countries.
The six areas of cooperation of today’s Arrangement are: mental health, access to healthcare and catering to the health needs of refugees, the return of patients to Ukraine and strengthening its rehabilitation system, enhancing the work of Ukraine on rare diseases and continued funding through the EU4Health programme.
Going forward, the work will focus on both urgent and long-term health priorities, such as resilience to cross-border threats to health, Europe‘s Beating Cancer Plan, Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe and digital health.
As of 30 April 2023, close to 780 000 Ukrainian nationals were registered in the national education systems of EU Member States and the four non-EU countries associated to the Schengen activities of the EU. The Commission continues to support the national education systems as they welcome the new pupils, amongst others through the EU Education Solidarity Group for Ukraine, in which Member States’ authorities exchange good practices and coordinate work at EU level.
The Commission has allowed for maximum flexibility under the Erasmus+ programme in support of youth, students and staff from Ukraine already at the beginning of the war. This included full and free access to the Erasmus+ Online Language Support platform. Ongoing projects could adapt their focus to support Ukraine, and applicants for new grants were encouraged to include activities linked to the integration of Ukrainian refugees, the promotion of European values, or the fight against disinformation and fake news. Opportunities for mobility in the education and training fields were exceptionally opened up to incoming participants from Ukraine, which was already possible in the youth field.
On 9 March 2023, the Commission adopted its Erasmus+ 2023 Annual Work Programme with an increased annual budget of €100 million to support the integration of people fleeing Ukraine into their new learning environments, and to support organisations, learners, and staff in Ukraine. This additional budget will be mostly allocated to cooperation partnership actions, which are best-suited to support Ukrainian learners and staff currently displaced in other European countries.
In the area of health, in the spirit of European solidarity, the Commission and the EU/EEA countries have evacuated more than 2,250 severely ill patients from Ukraine for medical treatment in 21 EU/EEA countries since the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
The Commission, through its Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI), is financially supporting (around €5 million) the World Health Organization (WHO) to set-up a system to organise the return of Ukrainian patients, many of them trauma patients, to Ukraine after their treatment in EU/EEA countries. This includes activities to ensure that these patients are seamlessly accepted into the health and social care system in Ukraine to receive follow-up treatment like rehabilitation.
A network was established under the Health Policy Platform in April 2022 to support and coordinate activities of the EU stakeholders working to provide support to displaced patients and health professionals from Ukraine.
On 15 July 2022, Ukraine signed an association agreement to join the EU4Health Programme which was back dated to 1 January 2022. As a result, Ukraine can access the EU4Health funding on equal footing with the EU Member States and the other associated countries (Norway, Iceland, and the Republic of Moldova).
In the EU4Health Work Programme 2022, €28.4 million is being used to improve mental health and provide psychosocial support to Ukrainian displaced people under an action coordinated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies together with Red Cross National Societies in 22 EU Member States, Norway and Ukraine.
In the Work Programme 2023, €10.66 million are being used to improve access to healthcare and improve mental health.