On October 6, Ukrainian delegation led by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the 22nd Ukraine-EU Summit in Brussels. The European Union was represented by the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, who participated on behalf of the President of the European Commission.
This high-level event was the first held by the EU with a third state since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the EU's priority in developing relations with Ukraine and supporting its European choice.
During the Summit, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed Ukraine's strategic goal of obtaining full membership in the EU.
The European Union has recognized Ukraine's readiness for the next step in granting our country the so-called industrial visa-free regime - the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Goods (ACAA). An expert mission to determine Ukraine's readiness to sign this Agreement has now begun to work. This would be an important decision needed to increase the export of our high value-added goods to the EU market.
During the Summit, the parties also agreed that the Agreement on the Common Aviation Area (CAA) (the so-called "Open Skies") would be signed in the near future.
A number of important agreements worth near 400 million euros were signed. The agreements focus on the key areas such as energy efficiency, decentralization, support for the agricultural sector as well as for the development of small and medium business.
Following the Summit, the leaders of Ukraine and the EU adopted a Joint Statement, which reflects the strategic nature of Ukraine-EU relations, confirms the European choice of our country, positively characterizes Ukraine's progress in the implementation of the Association Agreement, and identifies further cooperation between the two sides regarding the political association and economic integration.
The document notes the high level of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU on the full range of issues of the bilateral agenda, outlines further priorities for our country's integration into the European Union and consolidates support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in countering Russian aggression by European partners.
Joint statement following the 22nd EU-Ukraine Summit
Brussels, 6 October 2020
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, and Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the European Commission on behalf of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, met in Brussels today for the 22nd EU-Ukraine Summit and issued the following statement.
1. We gathered today to reaffirm our continued commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union, on the basis of the Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. We share common values of democracy, rule of law, respect for international law and human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, as well as gender equality. The EU reiterated its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
2. The strength of our relations has been evidenced by the unity, solidarity and mutual commitment demonstrated in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU and Ukraine are together fighting the coronavirus and its effects, which are an unprecedented challenge for the healthcare systems and economies of both Member States and Ukraine. We emphasised the importance of strengthening our preparedness and response capacities, of sharing information in a free, transparent and prompt manner, and of improving the international response including through relevant international organisations, such as the WHO, drawing on lessons learned from the current global responses. We expressed readiness to cooperate on making access to the future COVID-19 vaccine a global common good at affordable prices. We recognised that global solidarity, cooperation and effective multilateralism are required more than ever to defeat the virus as well as to ensure a sustainable economic recovery. The EUR 190 million support package and a EUR 1.2 billion macro-financial assistance programme that the EU had mobilised for Ukraine to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact goes far beyond what any other partner has provided. We noted the appreciation by Ukrainian leadership and citizens for the assistance provided.
3. We reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union, including through continued close cooperation to strengthen the rule of law, advance reforms, foster sustainable economic growth, support the green and digital transitions and increase resilience. We discussed the implementation of the Association Agreement following its entry into force in September 2017, after the December 2016 decision by the EU Heads of State or Government.
4. In this context, we acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomed its European choice, as stated in the Association Agreement. We agreed to exploit fully the potential of the Agreement and stressed the importance of Ukraine continuing to implement its commitments to that end. We welcomed the results already achieved in the implementation of the Association Agreement and the success of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which has supported the increase of bilateral trade flows by about 65% following its application since January 2016, with the EU now Ukraine’s largest trading partner.
5. We reaffirmed the emphasis on maintaining Ukraine’s macro-economic stability, keeping the IMF commitments on track and implementing all medium-term structural policies agreed within the EU macrofinancial assistance programme, as well as a strong and independent National Bank of Ukraine.
6. We recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process and agreed on the need to further accelerate these efforts. We welcomed the launch of the land reform, the adoption of the banking resolution law and progress made with regard to decentralisation. We welcomed the launch of the work of the High Anti-Corruption Court. We agreed on the importance of accelerating and reinforcing reform efforts, in particular on the judiciary (including reforming the High Council of Justice and the independent recruitment of judges with integrity) and in the fight against corruption, ensuring strong and independent anti-corruption institutions. We welcomed the renewed commitment of Ukraine to fight the influence of vested interests (“de-oligarchisation”). In this regard, we underlined the need to further strengthen media pluralism in Ukraine.
7. The EU reaffirmed its continued substantial support for Ukraine, and its link to the effective implementation of reforms and policy measures. Building on successful Ukrainian reforms and international support since the Revolution of Dignity, the EU announced new programmes to support agriculture, local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) notably through local currency lending, civil society, transport, infrastructure, environment and climate action, as well as specific support for the east of Ukraine. The EU also continues to support Ukraine on decentralisation and strengthening local self-governance, and on enhancing the fight against corruption. We welcomed the signature of the Eastern Neighbourhood Instrument financial agreements on the East, Civil Society and Climate.
8. The EU will continue to support Ukraine in countering hybrid threats and tackling disinformation, including through strengthening of independent media, media literacy strategic communications, in order to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience. We underlined the important role played by civil society, youth and independent media in all areas of public and political life, also in the context of disinformation campaigns against the EU and Ukraine, including by Russia. The EU and Ukraine agreed to launch a cyber-dialogue. We also noted the importance of enhancing cooperation in the area of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and alignment with CFSP, welcoming in this regard Ukraine’s participation in EUFOR Althea. Furthermore, we acknowledged the important roles played by the European Commission Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA) the EU Advisory Mission for civilian security sector reform (EUAM), including through its regional presence across Ukraine and the new Field Office in Mariupol.
9. We welcomed the continued successful implementation of the visa-free regime for the citizens of Ukraine. We underlined the importance of continuing to fulfil the visa liberalisation benchmarks and accelerating related reform efforts. We looked forward to the resumption of the normal travel opportunities for our citizens, once epidemiological conditions allow.
10. We looked forward to further enhancing economic integration and regulatory approximation within the framework of the Association Agreement in the following fields:
11. We agreed to proceed in 2021 with the comprehensive review of the achievement of the Agreement's objectives, as the Agreement stipulates.
12. We reiterated our strong condemnation of the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. We continue to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia, the militarisation of the peninsula, the severe deterioration of the human rights situation there as well as restrictions of the freedom of movement for Ukrainian citizens to and from the Crimean Peninsula. We condemned the voting procedures on constitutional amendments of the Russian Federation concluded on 1 July 2020 that took place in the Crimean Peninsula, as well as the election of the so-called “governor of Sevastopol” on 13 September 2020, in violation of international law. We called on Russia to allow unhindered access of international organisations and human rights actors to the areas currently not under the control of Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula, and to respect international humanitarian law. We called for the immediate release of all illegally detained and imprisoned Ukrainian citizens in the Crimean Peninsula and in Russia, including Crimean Tatar activists. We continue to call on Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage to and from the Sea of Azov, in accordance with international law. We remain fully committed to implementing and keeping our respective non-recognition policies updated, including through restrictive measures and cooperation in international fora. In this context, we welcomed the diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
13. We reaffirmed our full support to the endeavours of the Normandy format, the OSCE, the Trilateral Contact Group and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. We welcomed the renewed engagement by the parties at the Normandy Summit in Paris last December, and stressed the importance of implementing the measures agreed on that occasion in view of the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all sides, underlining Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We praised the constructive approach of Ukraine in the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group and called on Russia to reciprocate. The comprehensive and unlimited ceasefire is an achievement that should be preserved. We called on Russia to fully assume its responsibility in this regard and to use its considerable influence over the armed formations it backs to meet the Minsk commitments in full and to ensure free and unhindered access of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine, including the areas along the Ukrainian-Russian State border, in accordance with its mandate. We again called on Russia to immediately stop fuelling the conflict by providing financial and military support to the armed formations it backs, and we remain deeply concerned about the presence of Russian military equipment and personnel in the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine. We reiterated our condemnation of the Russian continuing measures entitling Ukrainian citizens of the areas currently not under the control of the Government to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner, in contradiction to the Minsk agreements. The EU recently renewed its economic sanctions on Russia, whose duration remains clearly linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
14. We agreed to continue cooperating to address the socio-economic and humanitarian consequences of the conflict, highlighting the necessity to ensure the supply of water, electricity and gas across the contact line, to facilitate the movement of people and goods, and to ensure that the people living in areas not under Government's control fully benefit from their rights as citizens of Ukraine, in full respect of international humanitarian law. In the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more essential that humanitarian aid continues to be delivered and that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have unimpeded access to the non-government controlled areas. We underlined the importance of pursuing demining activities also in new areas to be agreed. We also agreed on the need for Ukraine to establish a national mine action centre in order to effectively address the contamination by mines and unexploded ordnances in the conflict affected region. The EU stands ready to further support Ukraine's inclusive approach towards its citizens in the affected areas and to play a leading role in reconstruction efforts of the country, including in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, once the Minsk agreements have been implemented.
15. We underlined our support to all efforts to establish the truth, justice and accountability for the 298 victims and the next of kin and called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to cooperate fully with all efforts to establish accountability on the downing of flight MH17.
16. We welcomed the Eastern Partnership Leaders’ video tele-conference meeting of 18 June 2020. Taking into account the results and orientations from this meeting and building on the March 2020 Joint Communication, we reaffirmed the strategic importance of the partnership, and looked forward to the 6th Eastern Partnership Summit in 2021, which is expected to endorse long-term policy objectives and the next generation of post-2020 deliverables on the basis of these objectives and input of Member States and partner countries.