20th EU-Ukraine summit: main results

 

The EU and Ukraine reaffirmed their strong partnership based on their association agreement and discussed how to move it forward.

EU and Ukraine leaders pledged to strengthen the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU.

"Our partnership is built on solid foundations. Our association agreement and deep and comprehensive free trade area entered fully into force a year ago. The result is clear and positive. And Ukraine's economy is recovering with renewed positive growth."

The EU reiterated its firm commitment to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU also expressed its support to Ukraine's ambitious reform agenda.

President Donald Tusk and President Jean-Claude Juncker represented the EU at the summit. President Petro Poroshenko represented Ukraine. They adopted a joint statement.

 

Implementation of the association agreement 

EU and Ukraine leaders discussed the next steps in the implementation of the association agreement and its free trade area applied since 2016.

They welcomed the positive impact of the agreement on EU-Ukraine trade as well as on the country's economy:

  • trade in goods between the EU and Ukraine grew by 24% in 2017
  • Ukraine's economy increased by 2.5% in 2017 and a 3.5% growth is expected in 2018

Leaders also welcomed the introduction of visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens:

"Half a year after visa liberalisation entered into force, more than half a million Ukrainians have made use of this new opportunity."

 

Ukrainian reform process

EU and Ukraine leaders took stock of the wide-ranging reform process undertaken by Ukraine. They welcomed the launch of new important reforms since the last summit:

"In the past year the government has taken on a number of reforms, such as pensions and health care, that will be difficult in the short-term but make Ukraine stronger in the long-term."

Leaders said that it was important to continue and accelerate reform efforts, notably to:

  • better fight corruption
  • improve the business climate and to protect the rights of economic operators
  • modernise the energy sector

The EU reaffirmed its support to Ukraine's reform agenda and agreed to step up efforts in several areas such as:

  • skills development
  • energy efficiency
  • cyber security
  • disinformation

In May 2018, the Council agreed on a new package of macro-financial assistance of €1 billion for Ukraine. The disbursements will be subject to a range of policy conditions, which will have to be agreed between the EU and the Ukrainian authorities.

In the margins of the summit, Ukraine and the European Investment Bank signed a loan agreement of €75 million to finance road safety projects in the country.

 

Illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol

The EU reaffirmed its support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The EU reiterated its strong condemnation of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol:

"Our non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol remains firm and our visa ban list has been expanded following the conduct of Russian Presidential elections on the peninsula and the building of the Kerch bridge without Ukraine's consent."

Leaders stressed the need for full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all sides, underlining the responsibility of Russia for the war in eastern Ukraine. Since 2014, the United Nations has recorded more than 10,250 people killed ad 24,600 injured so far in this conflict

In the absence of progress, EU leaders agreed in June 2018 to extend economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy.

President Tusk renewed his call to release of the illegally imprisoned Ukrainian film maker and writer Oleh Sentsov and all those illegally detained in Crimea and in Russia.

Source: European Council
Photo credit:  European Union