EU team headed to Ukraine to examine financial needs

BRUSSELS Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:15am EST

BRUSSELS Feb 28 (Reuters) - A small team of financial experts from the European Commission will travel to Ukraine on Monday to conduct a detailed assessment of how much financial assistance the country needs, EU officials said on Friday.

The team from Commission's directorate-general for economic and financial affairs is expected to meet Ukrainian finance ministry and central bank officials to determine more precisely what the country's budget shortfall and capital needs are.

"The first thing we need to do is to understand precisely how much they need," said a senior official briefed on the visit. "There are a lot of numbers being thrown around and it isn't helping to clarify the situation."

Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years. But its short-term requirements are much less and estimated to be around $4 billion, according to EU officials.

The International Monetary Fund is also due to send a team of inspectors to Ukraine to assess its longer-term needs.

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