The 20th summit between the EU and Ukraine, held yesterday in Brussels, Belgium, measured Ukraine’s progress towards reforms.
The summit, held less than a year after the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement entered into force, aimed at taking stock of Ukraine’s progress towards reforms that were mandated by the agreement, and also sought to outline a plan of additional reforms in exchange for additional EU support.
The summit was led by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Reforms which were under discussion were the country’s efforts to curb political corruption and eliminate protectionist measures, with Ukraine having made strong progress in these areas over the past year.
What progress has Ukraine made in its reforms?
The summit concluded that Ukraine has maintained the necessary standards to continue a policy of offering short-stay visa-free travel within Europe, something which has benefitted more than 500,000 Ukrainians over the past year.
One sector that has seen significant benefit from reforms is the economy; In fact, overall trade between the European Union and Ukraine increased by almost 25% in 2017, which in turn created jobs, and increased budgetary resources which were used to improve better public services. Areas in which new reform programmes have been launched include health, education and pensions.
How has the association agreement impacted relations?
The relationship between Ukraine and the EU has improved rapidly in recent years thanks to Ukraine’s commitment to reforms and the offer of EU support, according to Juncker. He explained: “In the last four years, we have done more together than in the last 20. That is testament to the efforts of the Ukrainian people and President Poroshenko, and it shows that the European Union will keep supporting and standing by you.”
The EU’s support for Ukrainian reforms is not only offered in the form of financial contributions, he added: “The number of Ukrainian companies exporting to the EU is up by over 40% since 2014. This shows just how much can be achieved when we work together in full trust and confidence. This is how we must now go on. The more Ukraine reforms, the more the European Union will support.”