EU Press release
At the four­teenth EU-Ukraine Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil today, the Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil under­lined the strength of EU-Ukraine rela­tions and looked for­ward to deep­en­ing them fur­ther in the com­ing year.

In this con­text the EU wel­comed the com­mit­ment made by Pres­i­dent Yanukovych (and recon­firmed by Prime Min­is­ter Azarov today) to bring Ukraine clos­er to the EU. The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil dis­cussed exten­sive­ly the chal­lenges faced in Europe by the eco­nom­ic and finan­cial down­turn. The EU urged Ukraine to con­tin­ue to make deter­mined efforts to sta­bilise the eco­nom­ic and finan­cial sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try, in coop­er­a­tion with the IMF and oth­er Inter­na­tion­al Financ­ing Insti­tu­tions, while acknowl­edg­ing that this would entail chal­leng­ing adjust­ment mea­sures. The EU side not­ed in par­tic­u­lar the Eco­nom­ic Reform Pro­gramme endorsed by Pres­i­dent Yanukovych on 3rd June. The EU under­lined its readi­ness to sup­port Ukraine in imple­ment­ing reforms includ­ing those set out in the EU-Ukraine Asso­ci­a­tion Agen­da, through macro-finan­cial assis­tance, the new Nation­al Indica­tive Pro­gramme for 2011- 2013 as well as the Com­pre­hen­sive Insti­tu­tion Build­ing Pro­gramme through the East­ern Part­ner­ship.

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil wel­comed the con­tin­u­ing progress being made in nego­ti­a­tions on the new EU-Ukraine Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment and looked for­ward to the con­clu­sion of the nego­ti­a­tions as soon as pos­si­ble. In order to achieve this goal the EU looks to Ukraine to fur­ther enhance its nego­ti­at­ing capac­i­ty in order to finalise the free trade aspects of the Agree­ment. The Coun­cil under­lined the sig­nif­i­cant eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal gains that the agree­ment, once in force, would bring to Ukraine and to the EU.

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil not­ed the Joint Con­clu­sions of the EU-Ukraine JLS Min­is­te­r­i­al of 9th June. In par­tic­u­lar it wel­comed the deci­sion to move the dia­logue on the estab­lish­ment of a visa free regime as a long term per­spec­tive, into an oper­a­tional phase. This will involve the draw­ing up of a two phased Action Plan set­ting out the reforms that Ukraine should under­take in work­ing towards this goal.

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil dis­cussed a num­ber of issues relat­ed to Ukraine’s demo­c­ra­t­ic devel­op­ment. The EU side wel­comed the fact that the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions had been con­duct­ed in accor­dance with inter­na­tion­al stan­dards and called on Ukraine to imple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Inter­na­tion­al Elec­tion Obser­va­tion Mis­sion . It under­lined that the respect for human rights and demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues par­tic­u­lar­ly in the area of free­dom of the media are at the core of fur­ther deep­en­ing of EU-UA rela­tions. It also stressed the impor­tance of Con­sti­tu­tion­al reform, car­ried in line with the rel­e­vant con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­ce­dure and in a trans­par­ent and inclu­sive man­ner; the impor­tance of secur­ing the inde­pen­dence of the judi­cia­ry and free­dom of assem­bly.

The EU also recalled the need to improve the busi­ness and invest­ment cli­mate and renew efforts tack­le cor­rup­tion. In this regard the EU wel­comed impor­tant steps in improv­ing the legal frame­work for pub­lic pro­cure­ment.

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil looked for­ward to mak­ing use of the oppor­tu­ni­ties pro­vid­ed by the East­ern Part­ner­ship to strength­en the EU’s rela­tion­ship with Ukraine and oth­er East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries, and Ukraine’s pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion in this regard.

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil under­lined the impor­tance of strength­ened coop­er­a­tion in the area of for­eign and secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy. It stressed in par­tic­u­lar the val­ue of close coop­er­a­tion in the region­al frame­work, notably in the con­text of the 5+2 process for the set­tle­ment of Transnis­tria.

The EU was rep­re­sent­ed by EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy Ash­ton. Prime Min­is­ter Azarov led the Ukrain­ian del­e­ga­tion.

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union