The signing on Jan. 4 of the Agreement between Ukraine and Romania on cooperation in the development of 5G, the restoration and increased stability of telecommunication networks, adds a new dimension to the strategic partnership between our two countries. This dimension has several important aspects.

Firstly, it should be noted that digitization has a wider impact than just improving the nuts and bolts of information technology. It is the implementation of this to support public administration, education, medicine, all branches of industry and so on, will contribute to Ukraine's entry into a qualitatively new level of technological development.

It is from this position that the expansion in the areas of responsibility of the Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, to the level of the Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Development of Education, Science and Technology, which took place in March of last year, should be evaluated.

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So, what aspects are worth paying attention to.

Security aspects

During last June's Rammstein-style meeting, Estonia and Luxembourg agreed to Ukraine's proposal to take the lead in the creation of an IT coalition that would focus on Ukraine's cyber defense in the military sphere. This led in December to Estonia, the Netherlands, Canada, Poland, France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, the United States and Great Britain to launch the Tallinn Mechanism to strengthen cyber support for Ukraine in the civilian sphere.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Malyuk, and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink made statements.

NATO and the European Union are observer members of this mechanism. The agreement with Romania extends the toolkit of cooperation for the protection, restoration and development of the telecommunications infrastructure of Ukraine. In general, all these mechanisms will strengthen the systemic stability of Ukraine in the long term.

Financial

According to Fedorov, the cooperation agreement will allow both Ukraine and Romania to implement joint projects with support from the EU financial instruments. Access to EU funding is an important task on the way to securing Ukraine’s membership and EU is open to funding projects that are implemented in cooperation with partners from member states.

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Therefore, it is very important that the agreement with Romania allows Ukraine to access European funds for the support and development of the industry, which will determine its future right now. This will not only prove that EU money and structures are already working for Ukraine, but also that the restoration of our state is taking place in modernized ways in line with President Zelensky’s demands that things are done “better than they were.”

Cyber solidarity

Digitization is a field where Ukraine is already a global leader. In this area we are not just taking from Europe but are also able to give them something they need.

On Dec. 20, the EU Council reported that its members had reached a common position regarding the so-called “cyber solidarity law” to protect against threats in the field of cybersecurity. The communiqué issued from Brussels emphasized that this will make it possible to “make Europe more resistant to cyber threats and respond promptly to them, while strengthening cooperation mechanisms.”

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In particular, it is envisaged to create a pan-European infrastructure consisting of national and cross-border operational security centers throughout the European Union. Cooperation with Europe within the framework of the Tallinn mechanism, the IT coalition, and the new agreement with Romania, combined with significant experience in resisting Russia's hybrid attacks, will allow Ukraine to fully position itself within pan-European cyber solidarity.

The way ahead for bi-lateral cooperation

The expansion of the areas of cooperation between Ukraine and Romania follows the intention to develop a strategic partnership voiced by presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Klaus Iohannis during the joint governmental meetings held in Kyiv on Oct. 18.

This cooperation relates to the development of 5G data links, the restoration of telecommunication networks, and increasing their stability will complement the list of documents signed during October. Based on the dynamics of the relationships that sprung from this, there is no doubt that this is far from the last step on the way to a new quality of our interaction.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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Oleksiy Leonov is a Member of Parliament of Ukraine, co-chairman of the Deputies Group on Inter-Parliamentary Relations with Romania,

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