Interfax-Ukraine

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European Commission working on supply of school buses for villages near contact line in Donbas.

The European Commission is developing a project to provide buses to Ukrainian schoolchildren who live on the contact line in eastern Ukraine, Head of the Ukraine Support Group in the European Commission, Deputy Director General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Katarína Mathernová has said.

Mathernová told Interfax-Ukraine that based on the results of the mission, the European Commission is planning specific support for those who live on the contact line. In particular, it is developing a bus project for schoolchildren so that children can get to school. The commission also pays special attention to regional non-governmental organizations, supporting them institutionally, as well as to health support issues, the EC officials study with their financial institutions and partners where they can help in terms of infrastructure. According to Mathernová, the infrastructure needs in this region are significant.

She expressed hope that the project of buses for children will be put into practice within a few months.

Mathernová also said the situation has already been studied, and she thinks that the EC partners, and it will be the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCR), will be able to reach a concrete result. Most likely, this is about months, and then there will be a tender for suppliers of buses. The European Commission also needs to discuss this with the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that when they receive the buses, there will be resources to service and maintain them.

Mathernová said the EU will pay for the buses, but the running costs are fuel, maintenance in normal practice falls on local partners.

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