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21 December 2019, 12:30

EU-Ukraine PAC: Final Statement

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20 December 2019, 15:45

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20 December 2019, 09:15

Friday’s plenary sitting: The Order Paper

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19 December 2019, 20:00

Thursday’s evening session is over

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19 December 2019, 15:45

Thursday’s morning session is over

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19 December 2019, 09:15

Thursday’s plenary sitting: The Order Paper

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18 December 2019, 14:15

Wednesday’s morning session is over

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31 December 2019

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21 December 2019

EU-Ukraine PAC: Final Statement

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20 December 2019

Friday’s morning session is over

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20 December 2019

Friday’s plenary sitting: The Order Paper

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19 December 2019

Thursday’s evening session is over

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19 December 2019

Thursday’s morning session is over

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19 December 2019

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18 December 2019

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News

21 December 2019, 12:30

EU-Ukraine PAC: Final Statement

( Information Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Secretariat )

EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee

Tenth Meeting 18-19 December 2019 (Strasbourg)

 

Final Statement and Recommendations

pursuant to Article 467(3) of the Association Agreement

 

This is a provisional version that will be subject to linguistic revision

 

The tenth meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC) was held in Strasbourg on 18-19 December 2019, co-chaired by Vadym Halaichuk on behalf of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Witold Waszczykowski on behalf of the European Parliament.

The Parliamentary Association Committee, having discussed the recent developments in Ukraine and EU-Ukraine relations, and having exchanged views on the priorities for future developments, agreed upon the following final statement and recommendations.

The Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC):

On EU-Ukraine relations and their parliamentary dimension

1. Welcomes the pro-European strategic course enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine; stresses that the Association Agreement including a  Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) constitutes the backbone of the European integration agenda, and that its implementation is bringing Ukraine significantly closer to the EU, is modernizing the country and boosting economic development and is translating into concrete improvements in citizens’ lives; welcomes the ambition reflected in the Joint Statement following the 21st Ukraine-EU Summit on 9 July 2019, the government’s action plan of 29 September 2019 and in the revised action plan on AA implementation adopted on 19 November 2019;

2. Stresses its intention to contribute to the fullest possible extent to the implementation of the AA and monitoring thereof and to further dimensions of EU-Ukraine relations, including deeper sectoral integration in the areas of digital economy, energy, justice and home affairs, customs cooperation, as the central forum for political dialogue between the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU) and the European Parliament (EP) established by the AA; welcomes, in this respect, the intensive and productive work carried out by the PAC since its creation in 2015;

3. Emphasizes the key role played by the VRU in the AA implementation, both as a legislative body and as the institution monitoring and controlling the executive’s action; encourages therefore all initiatives aimed at enhancing both the capacities and the expertise of the VRU members and officials; welcomes, in this respect, the intensive EP-VRU cooperation that has developed since 2015 in the field of capacity-building and consensus and dialogue building, and look forward to its continuation in the coming years, notably in the framework of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between the two parliaments;

4. Believes that smooth inter-institutional cooperation and effective coordination within each relevant institution are essential for a smooth AA implementation; looks forward to the revised Joint Government-Parliament legislative roadmap to be developed by the joint Government-Parliament “Platform for EU integration”, which should translate into a high quality of related legislative acts;

5. Stresses that the AA does not constitute the final goal of EU-Ukraine relations; points out, in this respect, that Ukraine has a European perspective pursuant to Article 49 TEU, and may apply to become a member of the European Union provided that it adheres to the Copenhagen criteria and the principles of democracy, respects fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and upholds the rule of law, with the implementation of the AA as a first and crucial step;

6. Calls for an ambitious upgrade of the Eastern Partnership at the June 2020 Summit guided by common values and aiming at improving the security and socio-economic situation of the EU’s Eastern European partners; stresses that the EU should play a more visible role and further increase its engagement in peaceful conflict settlement in the EaP area; encourages the EU to find further ways to support the full implementation of the current agreements with its Eastern European partners; furthermore invites the EU to consider establishing the Trio Plus Strategy 2030, an EU investment and reform support platform for associated partners, in the areas including, but not limited to, capacity building, transport, energy, justice and digital economy, and paving the way for an ambitious agenda towards further integration steps;

On the security situation, Crimea and energy security

7. Emphasizes its strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders; recalls its strong condemnation of Russia’s acts of aggression against Ukraine, which has resulted in the temporary illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine) and of certain territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, as well as in the blocking of international shipping routes to the Sea of Azov and at the Black Sea, which constitute a deliberate violation of international law, democratic principles and fundamental values; strongly condemns human rights violations carried out by Russia on the occupied territories, including violations of religious freedom; calls for the freedom of navigation, under the International Law of the Seas Convention, both in the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea, to be restored and respected by Russia;

8. Welcomes the resumption of the negotiations in the Normandy format at the Summit in Paris on 9 December 2019, and commends efforts in this format to achieve sustainable and peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine caused by Russian aggression; welcomes the commitment to the full and comprehensive implementation of the ceasefire regime, backed by the implementation of all necessary ceasefire support measures, before the end of the year 2019; expects that the outcomes of the Normandy 4 Summit will advance the implementation of the Minsk agreements;

9. Welcomes the application of the “all for all” release and exchange formula until the end of the year; calls on the Russian authorities to release unconditionally and without further delay all Ukrainian citizens, including Crimean Tatars, who are illegally and arbitrarily detained on politically motivated charges both in Russia and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine; and insists on a full and unconditional access of international humanitarian organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to all detained persons;

10. Welcomes the roll-over of EU restrictive measures against the Russian Federation, including the addition, on 14 March 2019, of 8 persons involved in the use of force by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018; calls on the EU to respond with further targeted restrictive measures to so-called “local elections” held by occupying authorities in Crimea and Sevastopol on 8 September 2019; recalls that sanctions against Russia need to remain in place until the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; calls on the EU to be ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require; invites the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to visit the government-controlled part of the Donbas;

11. Welcomes recently adopted UN General Assembly Resolutions on the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, of 9 December 2019, and on the situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, of 18 December 2019; underlines the need to prevent further militarization of the occupied peninsula and encourages all relevant stakeholders to discuss proposals for an international format of negotiations on its de-occupation; calls on the international community to increase pressure on the Russian Federation in order to stop intimidation and continued persecution of ethnic and religious communities in the Crimea that refuse to recognize the illegal occupation, in particular the Crimean Tatars; to restore the full functioning of the Ukrainian media and schools in the Crimea; and to prevent forced conscription of the citizens of Ukraine to the Armed Forces and other military units of Russia;

12. Encourages the EU and Ukraine to enhance the cooperation in the field of strategic communication aimed at tackling effectively disinformation campaigns and at enhancing resilience;

13. While reaffirming Ukraine’s role as a long-term strategic partner for gas transit to the European Union, states its opposition to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as it reinforces EU dependency on Russian gas supplies, threatens the EU internal market and contradicts the spirit, values and core policy objectives of the Energy Union–namely energy security, solidarity and the diversification of supply routes and sources; calls on the European Commission and the EU Member States to ensure and enforce full and meticulous implementation of EU legislation to all pipelines delivering gas to the EU;

14. Regrets the absence of a mutually agreed solution in ongoing trilateral gas consultations between Ukraine, the EU and the Russian Federation as well as Gazprom and Naftogaz; calls on the Russian Federation and Gazprom to engage in meaningful and constructive discussions aimed at finding compromise to ensure stable and secure gas supply after 1 January 2020 and beyond;

On reforms and rule of law

15. Reminds that the close and lasting relationship between the EU and Ukraine is based on common values, namely respect for democratic principles, the rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms;

16. Commends Ukraine’s progress in reforms made since the signature of the Association Agreement in 2014, overall more pro-European reforms than during all previous years of Ukrainian independence, in the areas of energy, health, pensions, education, public administration, decentralization, public procurement, defence and security, as well as in the banking sector, and for securing macro-economic stabilization; calls on Ukraine to continue on the road of reforms based on principles of irreversibility and continuity with a particular focus on strengthening the rule of law and fighting against corruption;

17. Emphasizes that the consolidation of the rule of law and good governance constitute the fundamental basis for any positive development of the country, including in the economic sphere; stresses in this respect the importance of an independent, accountable, transparent, and effective justice system; encourages Ukrainian authorities to follow the opinion of the Venice Commission on the ongoing judicial reform and to uphold the positive features of the previous reform; underlines the importance to preserve stability, impartiality and independence of the judicial system and to ensure equal access to justice;

18. Welcomes furthermore the establishment in the past few years of a complete anti-corruption architecture, including a High Anticorruption Court; underlines the importance of preserving and, where relevant, strengthening the efficiency and independence of these institutions; emphasizes the crucial importance of and the need to still step up efforts on the fight against corruption and of a well-functioning public administration, including for the preservation of the internal security of Ukraine; calls for the fight against corruption in Ukraine to be unbiased and not politically motivated;

19. Underlines the crucial importance of ensuring full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and media pluralism, as well as equal access to media for all citizens, for driving forward the ambitious Ukraine-EU agenda as well as boosting the comprehensive support of the European Union to Ukraine’s authorities;

20. Stresses that a strong and well-functioning parliament is essential to a vigorous democracy; emphasizes, in this respect, the need to strike a balance between the willingness to carry out reforms in a swift manner and the necessity to respect Parliament’s prerogatives; underlines the necessity of preserving room for proper parliamentary proceedings and building a wide and inclusive pro-European consensus on all reforms; furthermore encourages all political factions in the Verkhovna Rada to work in a climate of dialogue and mutual respect as a means of projecting a positive image of the parliament in wider society and its efforts to strengthen national unity; welcomes in this respect the resumption of the EP-mediated Jean-Monnet Dialogues; encourages all factions to engage in the follow-up of the conclusions of the 7th Jean-Monnet Dialogue held in Bazoches on 28-29 November2019;

21. Calls on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to carefully consider and take the lead for any constitutional reform and to withstand any hostile Russian influence in these discussions;

22. Highlights the importance of a swift and unambiguous implementation of recommendations from the international election observation missions in Ukraine in 2019, in particular concerning the adoption of a new electoral code; calls on the Ukrainian authorities to conduct this exercise in an open, transparent and inclusive manner, with a view to gathering the broadest possible support and ensuring their sustainable implementation; welcomes the availability of the EP to assist the VRU in this implementation process;

23. Welcomes the European Commission’s willingness to accelerate the implementation of the AA including DCFTA, including with Ukraine, and to deepen sectoral cooperation where appropriate; commends the work of the Support Group for Ukraine in supporting and advancing the reforms in Ukraine and efficient implementation of the AA including DCFTA; underlines the need for the Commission to step up its efforts in supporting capacity development in the public sector, for local and regional authorities as well as civil society;

24. Welcomes the preliminary arrangements with the International Monetary Fund on the three-year Staff-Level Agreement under the extended fund facility in the amount of about USD 5.5 billion, which will help to consolidate macro-economic stability and create favourable conditions for implementation of reform agenda in Ukraine; encourages the European Commission to disburse as soon as possible the final tranche of EUR 500 million of the 4th Macro-financial assistance programme to Ukraine and to start consideration of a new programme of macro-financial assistance;

25. Supports Ukraine’s ambitions to become more integrated into the European Single Market; recognizes Ukraine as important and reliable trading partner to the EU; stresses the need to enhance trade and economic cooperation and to continue trade liberalization, including through the swift conclusion of Ukraine-EU Common Aviation Agreement and through moving towards negotiations on the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products(ACAA); welcomes the ambition of Ukraine to upgrade the agenda on Justice, Freedom and Security;

26. Encourages further deepening of cooperation in the digital sphere, including cyber security, the launch of the hybrid-risk survey for Ukraine, and the update of Annex XVII to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement; supports further approximation of Ukrainian legislation to the EU’s digital single market acquis and looks forward to the conclusions of the ongoing on-site expert mission in Ukraine on assessment of the Digital Roadmap;

27. Encourages the European Commission and Ukrainian Government to speed up the process of establishing consultation and monitoring mechanism related to assessment of compliance of the legislative initiatives according to updated Annex XXVII to the Association Agreement on energy issues;

28. Welcomes Ukraine’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with the European Union to tackle climate change and environmental challenges and supports Ukraine’s aspirations to step up climate actions in line with the European Green Deal;

29. Emphasizes the need for Ukraine to take measures against deforestation and illegal wood cutting inter alia in the Carpathian Mountains;

30. Calls for strengthening of people-to-people contacts to build a vital pillar for peaceful and sustainable multinational and multicultural societies on the continent and share European values within creative, inspirational and educational areas;

31. Encourages Ukrainian authorities to take into consideration the opinion of 7 December 2019 of the Venice Commission on the Law on Supporting the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language; welcomes Ukraine’s commitments to follow recommendations of the Venice Commission regarding the law on education;

On the next meeting

32. Informs that the next meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee will be held in spring 2020 in Ukraine.