Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, met in Brussels today for the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit and issued the following statement.
1. We, the leaders of the European Union and Ukraine, gathered today to reaffirm our continuous commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union, on the basis of the Association Agreement and our common values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. We have reaffirmed our attachment to international law. The EU reiterated its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process, which is essential both to meet the demands of Ukraine's citizens and to strengthen Ukraine's resilience to the external challenges it faces.
2. We welcomed the substantial increase in bilateral trade flows and the effective implementation of the visa-free regime, contributing to deepening relations between our societies. We stressed our shared commitment to the Eastern Partnership and welcomed the outcome of the Brussels Summit in November 2017 to guide our joint practical work in the implementation of the "20 deliverables for 2020". While preserving the inclusivity of the Eastern Partnership, we looked forward to engaging the AA/DCFTA partners in joint discussions on the progress, opportunities and challenges concerning the association-related reforms, as requested by these partners, and with the aim of facilitating full implementation of the AA/DCFTA. We commended the entry into force on 1 September 2017 of the Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), following the December 2016 decision by the EU Heads of State or Government.
3. In this context, we acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomed its European choice, as stated in the Association Agreement. We welcomed the results already achieved in the implementation of the Association Agreement including the DCFTA, and reconfirmed our commitment to accelerate these efforts. We welcomed Ukraine’s continued commitment under the AA/DCFTA to approximate its legislation to that of the Union, inter alia in the fields of digital market, customs cooperation and energy in order to contribute to creating growth and jobs and to further facilitate trade. We looked forward to jointly taking stock of progress at the next Association Council.
4. We took stock of the wide-ranging reform process undertaken by Ukraine and welcomed the commitment to continue its implementation and ensure its sustainability. We welcomed the launch of a number of important reforms since our last Summit to improve the living standards of Ukraine's citizens, notably in the areas of health and pensions. Good progress has been achieved on structural reforms in the field of decentralisation and public administration, as well as in public procurement and environmental reforms. We also welcomed the adoption of the law on privatisation and efforts for improved governance and transparency of State Owned Enterprises. We welcomed the progress made on the law on national security, took note of its adoption and looked forward to its implementation. We took note positively of Ukraine's adoption of the Energy Strategy up to 2035, the implementation of which will contribute further to the country's energy security and implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We agreed to explore further possibilities for cooperation in the area of environment, including with regards to EU Life+ and activities of European Environmental Agency. We welcomed the progress on reforms that Ukraine presented at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen on 27 June, and agreed that the pace of reforms should be maintained, including during the upcoming pre-election period.
5. We agreed on the importance of continuing and accelerating reform efforts, in particular in the fight against corruption, which is a concern for Ukraine's citizens and businesses. While noting the establishment of new legislative and institutional anti-corruption framework in Ukraine and the work already done in the fight against corruption, in particular by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), we agreed on the need for continued efforts in the reform of the judiciary and prosecution to strengthen the rule of law in Ukraine. In this context, we welcomed the adoption of the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court as an important step forward in the fight against corruption. We looked forward to the swift adoption of the necessary amendments ensuring its jurisdiction on appeals of relevant first instance court decisions. We welcomed the intention to make the court fully operational by the end of the year. We agreed on the need to further strengthen the necessary independence and full effectiveness of all anti-corruption institutions, which must carry out their work free from undue influence. We also agreed on the need to urgently both establish an effective verification mechanism of asset e-declarations and to revoke the electronic asset declaration obligation from civic activists. We recalled the importance of continued fulfilment of the visa liberalisation benchmarks, and took note of the assessment and recommendations of the first report by the Commission under the visa suspension mechanism. We reiterated our commitment to cooperate in countering terrorism and organised crime, developing integrated border management and exchanging best practices.
6. We looked forward to the further efforts by Ukraine needed to improve the business and investment climate and protect the rights of economic operators, including intellectual property rights, geographical indications and maritime port services and treatment. We also agreed on the urgent need for Ukraine to take actions to revoke the measures incompatible with the provisions of the AA/DCFTA and other international trade commitments. We recalled the EU-Ukraine Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership. We agreed on the need for continued reforms in the energy sector, in particular to complete gas and electricity market reform, including completion of the unbundling which is necessary for the integration of Ukraine's energy market with the EU energy market. We reaffirmed the commitment to prepare Ukraine's electricity market integration into the European electricity market based on the 2017 agreement between the respective transmission system operators. We reaffirmed Ukraine's role as a strategic transit country for gas, ensuring affordable, secure and sustainable supplies to the EU. In this context, we reconfirmed our readiness to engage in a trilateral process facilitated by the European Commission on the contractual framework for gas transit to the EU after 2019. We agreed on the need to develop better and safer transport links. We recalled the importance of concluding the Common Aviation Area Agreement at the earliest possible date. We reaffirmed our commitment to media pluralism. With regard to the Ukrainian law on education, we agreed on the need to ensure the respect for rights already exercised of persons belonging to national minorities as enshrined in UN and Council of Europe Conventions and related protocols, non-discrimination of persons belonging to minorities and respect for diversity and to fully implement the recommendations included in the opinion of the Venice Commission no. 902/2017, on the basis of a substantive dialogue with the representatives of persons belonging to national minorities, including legislation which extends the transition period until 2023 and which regulates exemption for private schools.
7. The EU reaffirmed its continued support for Ukraine's reform efforts, linked to effective implementation of reforms and policy measures. We welcomed the adoption of the decision of the EU to provide Ukraine with further macro-financial assistance of up to EUR 1 billion to underpin the economic stabilisation of the country, conditional on progress on reforms, in particular in the area of fight against corruption. We agreed to step up efforts regarding investment in people's skills by increasing exchange programmes and modernising the vocational education and training system of Ukraine. We also agreed to deepen our cooperation on improving energy efficiency in residential buildings through the recently established Energy Efficiency Fund and increase efforts in the implementation of the Association Agreement. The EU referred to its aim to strengthen investment-related support through the External Investment Plan, which can help mobilise and leverage private funding, in accordance with the set conditions. We also agreed on the importance of cooperation in strengthening cyber security and integrity of elections, tackling hybrid threats, including disinformation, and continuing to enhance our work on strategic communication. We acknowledged the important assisting roles played by the EU Advisory Mission for civilian security sector reform (EUAM) and by the European Commission Support Group for Ukraine in the coordination, planning and implementation of EU assistance and technical expertise. We also acknowledge the continuing progress on the implementation of the Administrative Arrangement between the European Defence Agency and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.
8. We reiterated our strong condemnation of the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. We continue to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, holding of its elections in the illegally annexed peninsula and the deterioration of the human rights situation there, the building of the Kerch Strait bridge without Ukraine's consent, the further militarisation of the peninsula as well as the Black and Azov Seas. We remain committed to fully implement our respective non-recognition policies, including through restrictive measures. We called on Russia to allow access of international organisations and human rights actors to the areas currently not under the control of the Government of Ukraine, including the Crimean peninsula, and to respect international humanitarian law. We called for the immediate release of all illegally detained and imprisoned Ukrainian citizens in the Crimean peninsula and in Russia, including Crimean Tatar activists as well as Oleg Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Shumkov and Roman Sushchenko. Ukraine presented its activities in international fora to address the impact of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.
9. We deplored the continuation of violence in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and its heavy toll on the civilian population and its dire consequences for the human rights situation. We condemned in the strongest terms the continued indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and critical civilian infrastructure. We reaffirmed our full support to the endeavours in the Normandy format, the OSCE and Trilateral Contact Group aimed at sustainable and peaceful resolution of this conflict through the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all sides, underlining the responsibility of the Russian Federation in this regard. We stressed the urgent need to ensure full respect for the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), including its unrestricted, safe and unconditional access on the ground throughout Ukraine, including the areas along the Ukrainian-Russian border and the Crimean peninsula. We also agreed on the need for Ukraine to establish a national mine action centre in order to effectively address the contamination by mines and unexploded ordnances in the conflict affected region. The EU announced a further EUR 16 million in support for the OSCE SMM and up to EUR 4 million to strengthen community resilience and reintegration of veterans of the conflict. The EU recently again renewed its economic sanctions on Russia, the duration of which remains clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.
10. Taking note of the efforts already made by the Ukrainian authorities, we agreed on the need to continue to address the socio-economic and humanitarian consequences of the conflict in an inclusive manner. We agreed on the urgent need to lend our support to the most vulnerable people in the east of Ukraine, including internally displaced people. We highlighted the importance of further facilitating the access and movement of people and humanitarian goods across the line of contact as well as to ensure that Ukrainians living in the area not currently under the control of the Government fully benefit from their rights as citizens of Ukraine. The EU expressed its readiness to engage in support of reconstruction efforts once the conditions allow. We welcomed ongoing initiatives, including by EU Member States, to provide targeted assistance to cities and districts of the conflict-affected region.
11. We recalled the tragic downing of flight MH17, paying tribute to the victims, looked forward to the effective prosecution of those responsible for this tragedy, and called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability.