March 20, 2018

European Week of Ukraine

Most Important Issues Concerning the Interests of the EU and Ukraine

Contrary to the allegations by Russian politicians and mass media (as well as their Ukrainian followers) about the “West's Ukraine fatigue” and “the Crimean problem losing relevance”, these issues remain in the focus of attention of the European Union.

Thus, this fact was demonstrated by the main leitmotiv of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini's visit to Ukraine on March 12, 2018.

In F. Mogherini's words said during her meeting with Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko, Prime Minister V. Groysman and Ukrainian politicians, the EU has no intention to reconsider its position on supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. At this, “Ukraine's security, Ukraine's independence, Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty are also an immediate investment in European security at large”.

Evidence of this position of the European Union was the nature of the issues discussed by F. Mogherini with the leadership of Ukraine, including: progress in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement; the European Union's plans to continue providing financial assistance to Ukraine; fulfillment of Ukraine's obligations regarding reforms; situation around the Crimea and Donbas; problems associated with Russia's another gas war against Ukraine and the EU.

High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini's visit to Ukraine on March 12, 2018 High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini's visit to Ukraine on March 12, 2018
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini's visit
to Ukraine on March 12, 2018

During the consideration of the above-mentioned issues, F. Mogherini: pointed out achievements in the EU-Ukraine cooperation; confirmed the possibility of Ukraine's receiving the first tranche of the new macro-financial assistance package by the end of this year; approved of Ukraine's progress in reforms; accused Russia of not fulfilling the Minsk Agreements and stressed the EU's non-recognition of Russia's elections in the Crimea; called on “Gazprom” to respect its contractual obligations and expressed the EU's readiness to resume the tripartite gas negotiations with Ukraine and Russia.

At the same time, the EU High Representative reminded about the need to strengthen the struggle against corruption in Ukraine, first of all through the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the Council of Europe. Besides, she actually abstained from giving a clear answer to the question of the EU's official recognition of Russia as an aggressor country, Europe's supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons and the EU's rejecting the Russian “Nord Stream-2” project.

 

Indicative and headline-making was the joint statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Ukraine of March 16, concerning Russia's annexation and occupation of the Crimea. According to the statement, the EU will never recognize the results of the elections held by Russia in the Crimea. At this, the European Union will not allow the Crimea to disappear from the international agenda. As long as the annexation continues, the restrictive measures and sanctions against Russia will continue.

Eight European Foreign Ministers: “Four years on — but we will not forget illegally occupied Crimea” Eight European Foreign Ministers: “Four years on — but we will not forget illegally occupied Crimea”
Eight European Foreign Ministers: “Four years on —
but we will not forget illegally occupied Crimea”

Other Spheres of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation

Along with the development of bilateral relations between Ukraine and the EU, deepening of the parties' cooperation in the multilateral format within the framework of the Eastern Partnership program is continuing.

Representatives from EU Member States and the six Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) met in Brussels on 12 March and agreed on the key priorities for 2018 to deliver on the commitments taken at the Eastern Partnership Summit of 24 November, 2017. As a result of the negotiations, an agreement was reached on regular meetings on special platforms devoted to specific sectors of reform, including: economics, governance, transport, energy, environment and climate, as well as social issues. Not only official representatives of the European Union and the countries of the Eastern Partnership, but also non-governmental organizations, companies and international financial institutions will take part in the meetings.

Meeting of representatives from EU Member States and Eastern Partnership countries, Brussels, March 12, 2018 Meeting of representatives from EU Member States and Eastern Partnership countries, Brussels, March 12, 2018
Meeting of representatives from EU Member States and Eastern Partnership countries,
Brussels, March 12, 2018

Some Factors Affecting the EU-Ukraine Relations

Signing of the Coalition Agreement of the new government of Germany, Berlin, March 12, 2018
Signing of the Coalition Agreement of the new government of Germany, Berlin, March 12, 2018

The EU leading countries' support of our state, which defines the policy of the European Union on the Ukrainian direction, is of great importance for Ukraine. Thus, the Ukrainian issue became one of the points of the Coalition Agreement of the new government of the FRG, consisting of representatives of the bloc of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which was concluded on March 12, 2018.

In particular, the document stressed Russia's violation of international law and European rule of law as a result of the annexation of the Crimea and becoming party to the conflict in the Donbas. At this, Germany intends to continue its efforts to facilitate the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Besides, the FRG supports the idea of the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the conflict zone in the East of Ukraine.

Commenting on the above-mentioned question, Federal Chancellor A. Merkel confirmed Germany's position on the impossibility of easing sanctions against Russia until progress is made in resolving the conflict in the Donbas.

 

In 2017 Ukraine ranked first in volumes of exports of poultry meat to EU countries
In 2017 Ukraine ranked first in volumes of exports of poultry meat to EU countries

Against this background, Ukraine's success in deepening trade and economic cooperation with the EU, which is the result of the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, is remarkable. According to the European Commission, in 2017 Ukraine ranked first in volumes of exports of poultry meat to EU countries. This tendency testifies to Ukraine's capability of producing high-quality products, which allows it to expand its presence in the European and world markets and, accordingly, to reduce dependence on Russia.

 

In turn, within the framework of the policy of containment of Moscow's neo-imperial policy and fulfillment of its obligations to Ukraine, on March 12, the Council of the European Union prolonged sanctions against Russia over the annexation of the Crimea for another six months until September 15, 2018.

 

At the same time, representatives of Western countries and international organizations continue to express concern about the inhibition of the reform process in Ukraine and criticize certain steps of the Ukrainian side on this direction. Thus, US Ambassador to Ukraine M. Yovanovitch, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine H. Mingarelli, Head of the Advisory Mission of the European Union K. Lancinskas and Head of the NATO Representation A. Vinnikov expressed a number of critical remarks about the draft Law “On National Security of Ukraine”.

Critical remarks of the Western partners about the draft Law “On National Security of Ukraine” Critical remarks of the Western partners about the draft Law “On National Security of Ukraine”
Critical remarks of the Western partners about the draft Law
“On National Security of Ukraine”

In particular, such remarks concern the absence in the Law of provisions on parliamentary control over the activities of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which is one of the fundamental requirements for rapprochement with NATO. Besides, concern is expressed over the Supreme Commander-in-Chief’s headquarters that is not in with NATO standards. Based on this, Western diplomats emphasize the need to enhance the transparency of Ukraine's activities in security sphere.

 

 

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