July 14, 2018

European Week of Ukraine

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

The development of Ukraine's relations with the EU and NATO confirms the qualitatively new level of the processes of our country's European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The results of the Ukraine-EU Summit (July 9, 2018) and the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government with Ukraine and Georgia (July 12, 2018) [within the framework of the NATO Summit] were the proof of this and showed further deepening of the consolidation of Western countries over the issue of supporting Ukraine.

 

Thus, in the joint statement following the results of the Ukraine-EU summit, for the first time at the official level was demonstrated the unanimity of the European Union's positions on key aspects concerning the interests of our state. In particular, the document points out:

  • Ukraine's European aspirations as the basis of its foreign policy choice. Due to this, there is actually green light for practical implementation of our state's plans of European integration with the prospect of joining the EU;
  • the fact of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, which has led to a violation of the latter's territorial integrity and sovereignty. This created the official basis for building the EU's relations with Russia as an aggressor country, and maintaining and toughening sanctions against it;
  • Ukraine's strategic importance in ensuring the gas transit to the countries of the European Union. Based on this, the EU leadership confirmed its readiness to continue participating in tripartite negotiations with Ukraine and Russia on the transit of Russian gas to Europe via the territory of Ukraine after 2019.

Besides, the EU expressed a strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the immutability of the policy of the European Union regarding not recognizing Russia's annexation of the Crimea. In this context, the EU leadership called on Russia to fully implement the Minsk Agreements, to stop violence in the Donbas and violation of human rights in the Crimea, to release Ukrainian political prisoners from Russian prisons, and to recognize Russia's responsibility for destroying Malaysian MH-17 flight in the sky over the Donbas in July  2014.

President of the European Council D. Tusk, President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko and President of the European Commission J.-C. Juncker met in Brussels for the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit, 9 July, 2018 Participants of the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit

In addition, significant progress was made in the cooperation between Ukraine and the EU within the framework of the implementation of association agreements, the creation of a free trade area and the simplification of the visa regime. In particular, in this regard, was pointed out the growing volume of trade between Ukraine and the European Union, which has already become Ukraine's main trading partner.

At the same time, the EU leadership has recognized significant progress in reform in Ukraine. Thus, according to European representatives' estimates, over the past four years, Ukraine has made more reforms than within the previous two decades. The emphasis was also placed on the need to intensify the steps in this direction and provide reform process with a deeper practical content, especially in the struggle against corruption.

Proceeding from the importance of these issues, agreements were reached on the continuation by the European Union of an active policy to assist Ukraine in resolving its socio-economic problems and in conducting reforms, as well as in counteracting Russia's anti-Ukrainian activity (including Moscow's attempts to influence the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections in our state).

At the same time, the evidence of the existing disagreements between the EU countries over the Ukrainian issue and the existence of a powerful pro-Russian lobby in Europe was the EU representatives' actual avoiding the issues related to the Russian “Nord Stream 2” project and the prospects for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Donbas.

 

In turn, the main outcome of the consideration of the Ukrainian issue during the NATO Summit and the meeting of the North Atlantic Council was the confirmation of Ukraine's right to join the North Atlantic Alliance. At this, the emphasis was placed on a shared commitment to the further development of the Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO and its importance in making Europe peaceful, stable and undivided.

At the same time, the member states of the Alliance showed the immutability of their positions on supporting Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia. Thus, the NATO leadership expressed unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders, recognized the right of our state to freely choose its own future and foreign policy course without external interference, and condemned Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimea and provoking an armed conflict in the Donbas, which was called a serious challenge to Euro-Atlantic security.

President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko and NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government with Georgia and Ukraine, 12 July, 2018

Against this background, the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance called on Russia to return the Crimea to Ukraine, as well as to fully fulfill its obligations under the Minsk Agreements, including the withdrawal of Russian troops from the occupied territories of the Donbas. They also supported Ukraine's position on the need to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission throughout the conflict zone.

In this context, most important for Ukraine was the NATO leadership' s confirmation of its intentions to help Ukraine to reform the national security and defense structures within the framework of the Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP, adopted in 2016 at the NATO Summit in Warsaw). At this they pointed out successes in the implementation of the CAP since its adoption, including the implementation of joint projects in the spheres of interoperability, development of strategic communications, logistics, standardization, disposal of explosive ordnance and radioactive waste, counteracting improvised explosive devices, cyber defense, telemedicine, improving the protection of critical energy infrastructure objects and repulsing “hybrid” attacks.

Progress was also acknowledged in Ukraine's security sector reform, first of all in the adoption of the Law on the High Anti-Corruption Court and the Law on National Security.

NATO leaders highly praised Ukraine's contribution to Allied operations, the NATO Response force and NATO exercises, and welcomed the decision of our state to increase its contribution to the Alliance's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

At the same time, in view of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the leadership of the Alliance emphasized the need to increase the effectiveness of the implementation of mechanisms of cooperation between the parties under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, first of all within the framework of the Annual National Programme. They also stressed the importance of continuing reforms aimed at strengthening civilian control and democratic oversight over the security and defence sector, as well as further improving command and control, planning and budgeting, and military education systems. At the same time, leaders of NATO member states urged Ukraine to fully implement the recommendations and conclusions of the Venice Commission regarding the Law “On Education”.

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government with Georgia and Ukraine, 12 July, 2018

In general, the results of the Ukraine-EU summit and the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government with Ukraine and Georgia were positively important for our state and contributed to strengthening its international position in the context of the continuing confrontation with Russia.

All this showed the falseness of insinuations about “the West's Ukraine fatigue” and Moscow's failure (including through agents of Russian influence in the EU and NATO) to prevent the processes of Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

At the same time, the development of cooperation between Ukraine and its western partners testifies to the need to continue reforms in the country and improve their efficiency.

 

Other Important Issues of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation

The OSCE also supports Ukraine's position in its confrontation with Russia. Thus, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's 27th Annual Session (Berlin, July 8, 2018) adopted a resolution “Ongoing violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”. The document emphasizes systemic violations by Russia as an aggressor country, of previous resolutions of the OSCE PA, recognized the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Crimea and Sevastopol and condemned violations of human rights of the inhabitants of the Crimea and illegal use of Russian jurisdiction over its territory.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly met in Berlin for its 27th Annual Session on 7–11 July, 2018 The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly met in Berlin for its 27th Annual Session on 7–11 July, 2018

OSCE PA's resolution was adopted despite the Russian delegation's active resistance. This once again showed Moscow's inability to influence the position of the international community regarding the Crimea and the futility of the Kremlin's hopes for recognition of “lawfulness” of the Russian annexation of the Peninsula and thus lifting of Western sanctions.

 

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