May 2, 2018

European Week of Ukraine

The Most Important Issues Concerning the Interests of Ukraine and the EU and NATO

In the situation of further aggravation of relations between Russia and the USA and Europe, Western countries and international organizations are increasing their attention to Ukraine, which plays a significant role in deterring Russia's expansion on the European direction. In particular, the issue of counteracting Moscow's aggressive policy has become one of the main topics of the meeting of the G7 (US, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada) Foreign Ministers' Meeting on April 22 in Toronto. For the first time, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine was invited to take part in the meeting.

The main outcome of the summit from the point of view of Ukraine's interests was the confirmation by the G7 countries of their unwavering positions regarding the continuation of joint pressure on Russia and support to Ukraine. According to the Final Communique of the participants of the meeting, the priority task of the G7 is to protect rules-based international order. The G7 expresses the intention to continue to use sanctions against Russia, as well as to intensify counteracting its “hybrid” threats.

Separately, the communique points to Moscow's responsibility for aggression against Ukraine, namely the annexation of the Crimea and the provocation of the war in the Donbas; it expresses the support of the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state; the emphasis is placed on the need for Russia to fully implement the Minsk Agreements, which remains the main prerequisite for lifting of sanctions against it. Besides, support for reforms in Ukraine is confirmed.

G7 Foreign Ministers in Toronto (Canada)
G7 Foreign Ministers in Toronto (Canada)

As expected, the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting caused a negative reaction from Moscow, which called it “bluntly Russophobic”. This confirms the rightness of the course of the G7.

 

PACE recognized the “Russia's effective control” of some territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine
PACE recognized the “Russia's effective control” of some territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine

In turn, on April 24, 2018, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in its Resolution “On the State of Emergency…”, which deals with the cases of suspension of certain articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (today, this possibility has been activated by three countries — Ukraine after Russia's aggression, France after terrorist attacks and Turkey after the attempted coup), recognized the “Russia's effective control” of the uncontrolled by Kyiv territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Despite the PACE's inability to directly acknowledge the fact of their occupation by Moscow, the Resolution lays the responsibility for the situation in the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” on Moscow and exonerates Ukraine from the responsibility for it.

Besides, on April 25, 2018, the PACE unanimously supported the Ukrainian draft resolution “The protection of editorial integrity” on the need to intensify the counteraction to Russian propaganda at the level of the European Union. It recommends member states of the Council of the EU to create special bodies to monitor Russia's actions in this sphere and prevent their negative impact.

 

Other Aspects of Cooperation Between Ukraine and Its Western Partners

The EU leadership and the leading European Union countries continue to assist Ukraine in developing its economy and resolving socio-economic problems.

The European Commission is developing a new program for attracting investment to Ukraine entitled “Reform Contract for Investment”. Within the framework of the new EU External Investment Plan, the EU can reserve 50 million Euros for investing into the real sector of the Ukrainian economy. According to expert estimates, if these funds are used efficiently, this would contribute to attracting some 500 million Euros of private investments. However, the money from the EU funds will be allocated to Ukraine only if it fulfills a number of requirements, including introduction of independent regulation in the energy sector, approval of the business ombudsman and cancelling e-declarations for anti-corruption activists.

The European Commission is developing a new program for attracting investment to Ukraine
The European Commission is developing a new program for attracting investment to Ukraine
IFC, the EU and Germany to establish new fund to support energy efficiency in Ukraine
IFC, the EU and Germany to establish new fund to support energy efficiency in Ukraine

Very important for Ukraine is the signing on April 21 of a contract with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany on the creation of a fund for improving energy efficiency in our country. According to the document, at the initial stage IFC will manage up to 53 million Euros provided by the EU and Germany. The Multi-Donor Fund together with the Ukrainian Energy Efficiency Fund will finance projects to improve the efficiency of energy supply of multi-family buildings in Ukraine and provide expert support for the development of the energy market in the country. The project will contribute to the creation in Ukraine of about 75 thousand new jobs for engineers, builders and workers.

 

Some Events and Factors Influencing Ukraine's Relations with Western Countries and International Organizations

A negative factor of the influence on the development of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO and the EU is the destructive position of Hungary, which uses the European aspirations of our state in order to put pressure on it. April 23, 2018 Hungary vetoed plans for holding a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers in Brussels. The official reason for such actions in Bucharest is a demonstration of a negative reaction to the new Law of Ukraine “On Education”. At the same time, due to this, Hungary actually supports Russia's actions to create barriers to the processes of Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels
Meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels

Nevertheless, the summit of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on April 27 confirmed Ukraine's right to join the North Atlantic Alliance. The participants also reached an agreement on the continuation of the containment policy towards Russia.