Delegates attending the 2019 EU-Ukraine Summit yesterday, 8 July, agreed to reaffirm the strong partnership between Ukraine and the EU.
The 2019 EU-Ukraine Summit, the 21st of its kind, saw European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy issue an official Joint Statement emphasising their dedication to ‘strengthening the political association and economic integration’ between Ukraine and the EU. Representatives on the EU side reiterated their support for Ukrainian sovereignty and independence from Russian interference; and called on Russia to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait in November 2018.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The European Union’s partnership with Ukraine is one of mutual solidarity and friendship. It is also one that is flourishing: we have achieved more progress together in the last five years than we did in the two decades before. Ukraine has taken up ambitious reform commitments. The EU, in turn, has provided Ukraine with unprecedented support, from financial and expert support, to autonomous trade measures, and almost 3 million visa-free visits to the EU for Ukrainian citizens to date. This, alongside continued unity on sanctions, shows the EU’s commitment to Ukraine – one that remains unwavering.”
The EU’s Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn announced a renewed support package at the 2019 EU-Ukraine Summit, to be focused on supporting civil society; the ongoing fight against corruption; decentralisation initiatives and a €44m Technical Co-operation Facility aimed at providing support and policy advice for key reforms in the country.
Hahn said: “Our new support will help Ukraine implement key reforms that will have a tangible impact on people’s lives and that will improve relations with the EU. Ukraine has advanced in a number of important demanding reforms over the years, and it is important that there will not be any rollback, in particular on issues such as the fight against corruption or decentralisation. The EU has also stepped up its support to civil society, which is key for better governance in Ukraine.”
The EU offered additional support to the Ukraine in the fields of infrastructure and defence, with new support measures announced at the 2019 EU-Ukraine Summit including public safety programmes and increased social and defence support to residents in the Sea of Azov region, which has seen economic decline and traumatised inhabitants due to its proximity to fields of conflict.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “Today, the European Union steps up its support to the Sea of Azov region, to mitigate the impact of the Kerch Bridge – built without Ukraine’s consent – and of Russia’s inspection regime hindering traffic in violation of international law. As a reliable partner, and as a friend, the European Union is and will always be there for the Ukrainian people.”