June 23, 2018

European Week of Ukraine

Major Events and Trends in the Development of Ukraine's Cooperation with the European Union and NATO

The leadership of the European Union maintains a firm position on supporting Ukraine and putting pressure on the Russian Federation. June 18, 2018, the EU Council decided to continue for one year the sanctions against Russia over the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the city of Sevastopol. The sanctions include prohibitions on: imports of products originating in Crimea or Sevastopol into the EU; investment in the Crimea or Sevastopol by Europeans or EU-based companies; providing tourism services; and exports of certain goods and technologies to the Peninsula in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors (including related to the oil and gas production). According to the head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine H. Mingarelli, Russia will be paying a high price for the annexation of the Crimea until Ukraine regains its sovereignty over the Peninsula.

 

Russia's policy was also condemned by NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg during his visit to London on June 21, 2018. According to him, the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance must jointly respond to modern threats, the greatest of which are Moscow's aggression, international terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks. J. Stoltenberg particularly emphasized the Russian Federation's intimidation of its neighbors, the annexation of the Crimea and the destabilization of the situation in the Donbas, interference in domestic affairs of European countries, and the use of banned chemical weapon to poison the former officer of the Russian GRU S. Skripal in the UK.

Russia's policy was condemned by NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg during his speech at Lancaster House in London on June 21, 2018
Russia's policy was condemned by NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg during his speech at Lancaster House in London
on June 21, 2018

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

As part of the preparations for the Ukraine-EU summit scheduled for July 9, 2018, Brussels focuses on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. According to the EU Delegation in Ukraine, today the main obstacle on the way to a successful implementation of the Agreement is the position of oligarchs and populists who have their own interests and are not interested in modernizing the Ukrainian economy. In this regard, there is a need: to increase both, Ukraine's and Europe's responsibility for the implementation of the Agreement; to deepen coordination of the parties' efforts; to introduce a powerful mechanism for monitoring the implementation of appropriate measures; to set clear priorities and their annual verification.

 

Other Aspects of Cooperation Between Ukraine and Its Western Partners

According to its commitments to Ukraine, the EU provides consistent assistance to our country in resolving its economic problems, as well as carrying out a complex of internal reforms.

June 13, 2018, the European Parliament decided to provide Ukraine with 1 billion Euros of macro-financial aid. These funds will allow Ukraine to partially cover its needs for foreign financing in 2018–2019. The EU pledged 1.6 billion Euros of macro-financial assistance in 2014 and 1.8 billion Euros in 2015, of which Ukraine received 2.81 billion Euros. A 600 million Euros instalment was cancelled in January 2018 due to incomplete compliance with the conditions set. Today this problem has been successfully resolved.

Besides, on June 18, 2018, with the EU's financial support, in Ukraine was officially launched the “Pravo-Justice” project, which will work with the Ukrainian counterparts to improve the country's justice sector policy and coordination and to support the reforming of courts and judiciary governance bodies. The “Pravo-Justice” project is continuing the work of the EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reform in Ukraine”, implemented in 2014–2017.

On June 18, 2018, in Ukraine was officially launched the “Pravo-Justice” project
On June 18, 2018, in Ukraine was officially launched the “Pravo-Justice” project

The Western partners of Ukraine are also paying special attention to reforming the security sphere of our state. Thus, the USA, EU and NATO representatives approved the draft Law “On National Security” (adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in its second reading on June 21, 2018). Thus, Ukraine has fulfilled one of the key requirements for bringing its legislation up to Western standards.

 

At the same time, the G7 countries and the IMF positively assessed the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the Law “On the High Anti-corruption Court”, which was called a significant step forward in the struggle against corruption. At the same time, a recommendation was made to amend the Law so the proposed court will be able to hear all cases under its jurisdiction, including existing corruption cases.

The Western partners of Ukraine positively assessed the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the Law “On the High Anti-corruption Court”
The Western partners of Ukraine positively assessed the adoption
by the Verkhovna Rada of the Law “On the High Anti-corruption Court”

 

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

The USA plans to substantially increase the volume of gas exports to Europe, which “will put Russia on its back foot” — US Secretary of State M. Pompeo
The USA plans to substantially increase the volume of gas exports to Europe, which “will put Russia on its back foot” — US Secretary of State M. Pompeo

An important positive factor for Ukraine is the UK's tough policy towards Russia, including Russia's Gazprom. June 19, 2018, on the request of the Naftogaz of Ukraine, the Commercial Court of London allowed the government to “freeze” the assets of the Russian gas company on the British territory. The aim of such a move is to ensure the execution of the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration that Gazprom should return to Ukraine 2.6 billion US dollars, which were overpaid for the gas received as a result of Russia's unreasonable price setting for it. Britain's position is holding back Russia's expansion, including the expansion of its presence in the European energy market.

 

In the near future, the US can become a significant competitor of Russia in the energy sector of the EU. According to US Secretary of State M. Pompeo (in his speech at the Detroit Economic Club on June 18), the United States plans to substantially increase the volume of gas exports to Europe. At this, he gave this issue the central role in ensuring the security of the USA and the EU, which “will put Russia on its back foot” on this issue.