The 17th EU-Ukraine Summit
The 17th EU-Ukraine Summit took place in Kyiv on 27 April 2015. It was the first Summit in the framework of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Ukraine was represented at the Summit by President Petro Poroshenko.The European Union was represented at the highest level, by President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
In the spotlight of the Summit was discussion on the situation in eastern Ukraine and the application of the Minsk agreements, the implementation of the Association Agreement and political and economic reforms in Ukraine, including EU financial and other assistance as well as Regional issues and preparations for the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Riga and the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
During the joint press conference the EU leadership provided clear signals in support of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the efforts of our country to counter armed aggression on the part of Russia, in particular in the context of continuing the EU sanctions policy and the implementation of internal reforms in Ukraine.
Following the Summit adopted a joint statement:
17th EU-Ukraine Summit: Joint Statement
1. The 17th EU-Ukraine Summit took place in Kyiv on 27 April 2015. The European Union was represented by President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Ukraine was represented by President Petro Poroshenko. It was the first Summit in the framework of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, implementation of which will represent a fundamental step in the process of deepening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU on the basis of respect for common values and their effective promotion.
2. The leaders welcomed the holding of free and fair Ukrainian Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2014 in which the Ukrainian people used their right to choose their own future and which marked an important step in Ukraine’s aspirations to consolidate its democratic development in line with its international commitments. The leaders recalled the unprecedented public support for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU as well as for its democratic aspirations. They remembered the tragic events of early 2014 and paid tribute to all those who had lost their lives. They reconfirmed the common objective to build a democratic, stable and prosperous country with guaranteed human rights and fundamental freedoms for all its citizens, and confirmed Ukraine’s commitment to building a deep and sustainable democracy and market economy. The leaders acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomed its European choice, as stated in the Association Agreement.
3. The leaders welcomed the signing and the beginning of the provisional application of the relevant parts of the Association Agreement and the progress in preparation for the provisional application of the DCFTA as of 1 January 2016. They highlighted the importance of swift ratification of the Association Agreement by Member States in accordance with their internal procedures. A reinvigorated reform process will be crucial in view of Ukraine's political association and economic integration with the EU.
4. The leaders welcomed Ukraine’s strong commitment to an ambitious reform process as set out in Ukraine’s Strategy 2020, the Government Programme and the Coalition Agreement. They also welcomed the EU's package to support Ukraine in its efforts for launching this renewed reform process, as well as the EU’s Ukraine Support Group and the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform. In this context, leaders welcomed the update of the Association Agenda, an important tool agreed jointly to facilitate the implementation and the monitoring of the Association Agreement.
5. They welcomed the first reform steps taken by Ukraine in key areas, notably constitutional reform, decentralisation, the fight against corruption, the reform of the justice sector, the restructuring of the energy sector and the improvement of the business climate. They underlined that implementation of these reforms will be key and should rapidly achieve further concrete results. In particular, they welcomed:
- the launch of the work of the constitutional commission;
- the progress made in the decentralisation process (laws on voluntary merger and on cooperation of communities adopted, the tax code and budget law amended)
- the amendment of the public broadcasting law;
- the adoption of an anti-corruption package including a national strategy (2014-2017) and of the laws on the Public Prosecutor's Office as well as on the judiciary and the status of judges;
- the appointment of the Head of the National Anti-corruption Bureau;
- the submission to the Parliament of laws on civil service including in local self-government bodies;
- the adoption of the law on the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine and the state aid framework, the amendments to the public procurement law and the increased transparency in managing state-owned companies;
- the ongoing energy price and tariff reform, the adoption of a new gas market law in line with Energy Community Treaty commitments and the submission to the Parliament of a law on the gas and electricity regulatory authorities;
- the progress in reducing regulatory and licensing requirements as to facilitate business.
6. The leaders agreed on the need to further accelerate the reform process on key systemic issues such as:
- the finalisation of an inclusive constitutional reform to enable a thorough Justice reform, decentralisation process and the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;
- the finalisation of the reform of the legislative framework in due time before local elections;
- the fight against and the prevention of corruption, through appropriate institutions and independent investigations and the setting up of the National Centre for the Prevention of Corruption;
- the increased transparency, accountability and independence of the Judiciary;
- the professionalisation and depoliticisation of the public administration including self-governance bodies;
- the restructuring of the energy sector in line with the Third Energy Package notably with Naftogaz unbundling and increased attention to energy efficiency;
- the reform of the civilian security sector;
- the modernisation of the public finance management system through a more transparent public procurement, improved fiscal governance and stronger external audit.
7. In this context, the leaders welcomed the organisation by Ukraine of the International Conference on Support for Ukraine the day after the Summit, which would allow Ukraine to communicate its reform efforts to the wider world and reflect with the international community on the next steps in the reform process and the necessary support measures.
8. The leaders welcomed the EUR 11 billion financial support pledged by the European Union and European Financial Institutions in March 2014 in support of Ukraine’s political, economic and financial stabilisation. Since then, already some EUR 6 billion has been mobilised in the form of loans and grants, including the recently approved additional third macro-financial assistance programme of EUR 1.8 billion and last week’s disbursement of the final tranche of EUR 250 million under a previous programme. The leaders agreed to swiftly conclude the Memorandum of Understanding and Loan Agreement of the third macro-financial assistance programme to allow for a swift disbursement of the first tranche possibly by mid-2015.
9. The leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since March 2014. These actions are in clear breach of the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, as well as Russia's specific commitments to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and the bilateral Treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership of 1997.
10. The leaders reconfirmed their strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, which they will not recognise. Faced with this continued violation of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and of international law, they confirmed their commitment to fully implement a non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures and called upon UN Member States to respect the United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 68/262 of 27 March 2014. They affirm their deep concern at the continuous military build-up and deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean Peninsula, including the denial of free speech and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities, including the Crimean Tatars. They call for the provision of full, free and unrestricted access to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol to international human rights actors.
11. The EU side reiterated its commitment to strongly support Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The leaders underlined their strong support for the efforts aimed at de-escalation and a political solution based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, in particular in the framework of the Normandy format. They expressed their full support for the Minsk Agreements including the Package of Measures of 12 February 2015, endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2202 of 17 February 2015.
12. The leaders called on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk Agreements and honour their commitments and underlined the Russian authorities' responsibility in this regard. They called for the urgent release of all hostages and unlawfully detained persons, including Nadia Savchenko. In this framework, they expressed their full support for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, as well as the efforts of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in the Trilateral Contact Group. The leaders called upon all parties to cooperate with the international investigations and criminal proceedings to hold to account those who are responsible for the downing of MH17.
13. The leaders took note of the European Council Conclusions of 19 March 2015 regarding the EU restrictive measures against the Russian Federation.
14. The leaders stressed the need to challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns and agreed on the need to strengthen their respective strategic communication efforts.
15. The leaders deplored the massive humanitarian crisis. Ukraine thanked the EU and its Member States for the significant humanitarian support provided. The leaders agreed to enhance their relief efforts to address the needs of the population affected by the conflict, wherever they are and discussed prospects for a more active use of the resources provided by the international community. They agreed on the necessity to provide social assistance to the internally displaced persons at short and long term as well as to improve the coordination mechanism and address remaining legal and administrative obstacles to unhindered international humanitarian assistance to those who need it.
16. The leaders welcomed the progress in the trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the delivery of gas from Russia to Ukraine with the goal to increase the security of gas supply for Ukraine and its citizens as well as ensuring stable, sufficient and uninterrupted transit of gas to the EU. While underlining the importance of a stronger energy partnership between Ukraine and the EU, taking into account international commitments, including in the field of nuclear energy safety, the leaders expressed their readiness to continue cooperation between Ukraine and the EU on urgent energy sector reforms in Ukraine, on the joint modernisation and operation of the Ukrainian gas transportation system and storages and on securing gas supplies from Europe to Ukraine, and specifically welcomed the adoption of the new gas law. They agreed to further cooperate in promoting market integration, including through the development of interconnections and standard Interconnection Agreements between Transmission System Operators of Ukraine and bordering EU Member-States.
17. The leaders look forward to the provisional application of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine starting on 1 January 2016 and the positive impact its implementation will bring about. They also noted the importance of continuing the trilateral consultations on EU-Ukraine DCFTA implementation in a constructive manner, using the existing flexibilities available to the contracting parties in the DCFTA.
18. The leaders reconfirmed their commitment to achieve the shared objective of visa-free travel provided that conditions for well-managed and secure mobility set out in the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan are in place. They welcomed the progress made by Ukraine underlining the necessity for a full and effective implementation of all benchmarks and emphasising in this regard the importance of the upcoming release of the next progress report on the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan ahead of the Riga Summit.
19. The leaders welcomed the deepening of EU-Ukraine cooperation notably with the meeting of the first Association Council, which put in place the institutional framework of enhanced cooperation, as well as the signing of the agreement associating Ukraine to Horizon 2020. Leaders praised the deepening of people-to-people contacts notably through Ukraine's participation in the Erasmus+ programme supporting student mobility, academic cooperation and youth exchanges. In addition, they welcomed the willingness of both sides to associate Ukraine to Creative Europe, the Research and Training Programme of Euratom (2014-2018) and the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME 2014-2020). The leaders reconfirmed the importance of concluding the EU–Ukraine Agreement on Common Aviation Area, as referred in the Association Agreement, at the earliest possible date in 2015.
20. The leaders exchanged views on international and regional matters, notably in light of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga and the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy. They highlighted the importance of renewing constructive engagement on the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict with respect to the 5+2 settlement talks. The leaders welcomed the role of the European Commission’s Border Mission to Moldova and Ukraine in the development of border management and reforming of the border and customs services of Ukraine, welcoming the extension of the mandate of the mission for another two years until December 2017. They also expressed satisfaction with the increase in Ukraine's alignment with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) declarations as well as with Ukraine’s participation in the EU-led Naval Military Operation (EUNAVFOR Somalia Atalanta) and in the EU Battlegroups in 2014. The leaders welcomed the launch of the negotiations on the administrative arrangement between the European Defence Agency and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.