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EU Offers Ukraine $2.12 Billion More In Loans If Reforms Made

The European Commission has offered to lend Ukraine a further 1.8 billion euros ($2.12 billion) in medium-term loans to help the country's beleaguered economy.

But the EU's executive arm said on January 8 that Ukraine must continue reforms under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program and implement economic and financial policies agreed with the EU.

"Europe stands united behind Ukraine," Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a news conference in the Latvian capital, Riga.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini later told journalists in Riga that “the financial assistance is linked to their willingness to make reforms on different issues," citing corruption.

The bloc's 28 members and the European Parliament must approve the additional loans for them to go into effect.

The EU has already released 1.6 billion euros in loans to Ukraine to help bail out Kyiv's cash-strapped government.

The EU's offer came on the day Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Merkel later said she was impressed by the "determined" course Yatsenyuk’s government had taken.

Yatsenyuk insisted that it is difficult to push through unpopular spending cuts that are a condition of reforms being called for.

"You have always to move forward," Yatsenyuk said. "We are doing the job on our side despite the fact that we face tremendous challenges."

Yatsenyuk stressed that Ukraine needs more financial help soon.

"We are out of time," he said. "The timetable is very, very limited, and we expect to get the response from the IMF and our western partners as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, an IMF team on January 8 resumed talks with authorities in Kyiv about terms for a possible new loan to Ukraine.

An existing IMF bailout package is worth $17.1 billion, but only $4.6 billion has been paid out so far in two tranches.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and TASS
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