July 1, 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 demonstrates the firmness of positions on the containment of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the Western world. As a result of the EU summit on June 28–29, in fact, without discussion, it was decided to continue sanctions against Russia, which were imposed for its provoking the conflict in the Donbas.

Besides, leaders of EU member states agreed on resolving the migration crisis in Europe. Thus, agreements were reached on: mandatory determination of the need for asylum for each particular person (political persecution, economic or security problems, etc.) or their return to places of permanent residence; creating centers for migrants in those countries that agree to it; improving the protection of the external borders of the European Union.

In general, the decisions confirmed the EU's unity on key issues relating to European security, despite Russia's attempts to split the European Union through the support of Euro-skeptical and pro-Russian forces in Europe.

European Council meeting on 28 June, 2018 in Brussels
European Council meeting on 28 June, 2018 in Brussels

It should also be noted that there is progress in addressing the issue of Hungary's blocking the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Thus, according to the results of negotiations between representatives of Ukraine and Hungary on June 22, the Hungarian side lifted its demands for the abolition of the language norm of the Ukrainian Law “On Education” as a prerequisite for the renewal of the NATO-Ukraine dialogue. Instead, Budapest now demands from Ukraine to comply with the Venice Commission's recommendations, which include increasing the transition period for the implementation of the Law “On Education” and the non-application of its norms to private schools. Given that the above-mentioned requirements do not contradict Ukrainian interests, Ukraine agrees to fulfill them.

The Ukrainian-Hungarian consultations at the level of Foreign ministers and Ministers for Education on the implementation of the Law “On Education”, June 22, 2018 The Ukrainian-Hungarian consultations at the level of Foreign ministers and Ministers for Education on the implementation of the Law “On Education”, June 22, 2018
The Ukrainian-Hungarian consultations at the level of Foreign ministers and Ministers for Education on the implementation of the Law “On Education”, June 22, 2018

 

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

Western countries and international organizations continue to support Ukraine in resolving its economic problems. June 26, 2018, the Council of the European Union decided to allocate 1 billion Euros of new loans to Ukraine to cover its financial needs, stabilize the Ukrainian economy and carry out structural reforms (the above-mentioned decision was approved by the European Parliament).

The first financial tranche should come to Ukraine at the end of 2018, and the second — in the spring of 2019. At the same time, providing of this loan requires a number of procedural steps, namely: the European Commission and the EU Council have to determine the conditions for the provision of financial assistance to Ukraine, which must be drawn up within the framework of the relevant Memorandum and agreed with the Ukrainian side. After this, the Memorandum must be formally ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The EU's positive decision to allocate funds to Ukraine promotes the recognition by the leadership of the European Union of progress in carrying out reforms in our country. In particular, this fact was confirmed during the meeting of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Ch. Freeland on June 26, 2018 in Brussels. According to the Foreign Minister of Canada, “international partners should support Ukraine as it implements significant economic and democratic reforms to build a sovereign, stable and secure state”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Chrystia Freeland with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, on 26 June 2018, in Brussels
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Ch. Freeland with
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini, on 26 June 2018, in Brussels

At the same time, Western partners of Ukraine demonstrate solidarity with our state in the problem of the release of Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages in Russia. June 28, 2018, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution calling on the leadership of the Russian Federation to promptly release all Ukrainians detained on “politically motivated charges” in the annexed Crimea, in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and in the Russian Federation. Besides, PACE called on Moscow to allow Ukrainian officials (including Ukraine Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights) to visit Ukrainian prisoners and stop imposing Russian citizenship on Ukrainian citizens living in annexed and occupied territories of Ukraine.

The PACE's position on this issue is supported by the Council of Europe. Last week, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe sent an official appeal to the RF President V. Putin, to release a Ukrainian journalist O. Sentsov, who was sentenced for 20 years based on groundless accusations of preparing terrorist attacks in the Crimea and Sevastopol. A resolution calling for the release of O. Sentsov and other political prisoners was also adopted by the Sejm of Poland.

On June 28, 2018, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the release of all Ukrainian citizens detained as political prisoners by the Russian Federation
On June 28, 2018, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the release of all Ukrainian citizens detained as political prisoners by the Russian Federation
On June 28, 2018, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the release of all Ukrainian citizens detained
as political prisoners by the Russian Federation

In turn, last week the US State Department called on Russia to stop the persecution of the Crimean Tatar population. In this regard, the emphasis was placed on the illegal arrest of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea for alleged involvement in the terrorist organization “Hizb ut-Tahrir”.

 

Other Aspects of Cooperation Between Ukraine and Its Western Partners

Along with the provision of political and economic assistance to Ukraine, the EU leadership supports our state also in resolving the conflict with Russia in the gas sector. Thus, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union M. Shefchovych has confirmed the readiness of the European Commission to mediate in talks between Ukraine and Russia concerning the transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory. In particular, the start of such negotiations is expected in July 2018.

Vice-President of European Commission for the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic with Russian delegation on June 26, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
Vice-President of European Commission for the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic with Russian delegation on June 26, 2018,
in Washington, D.C.

On the side of Ukraine in the gas issue is also a number of European countries that are against the Russian project “Nord Stream 2”. According to the Prime Minister of Denmark L. Rasmussen, his country's Parliament can pass a law that will block or delay construction of a new Russian gas pipeline that does not meet European interests. In this regard, he has proposed that the project be discussed at the all-European level in order to make a serious and well-balanced analysis of all risks for Europe and Ukraine.