The summit of the European Union and Ukraine in Kiev ended without a final statement: the parties still had different understandings of what “European aspirations and European choice” of Ukraine
Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Petro Poroshenko
(Photo: Mikhail palinchak / TASS)
From Transnistria to the Donbass
In Kiev on 13 July summit Ukraine — EU. The European side was represented by head of the European Council Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU high representative for the common foreign policy Federica Mogherini. Before the meeting, the press service of the President of Ukraine said that first of all will discuss the implementation of the Agreement on Association between Ukraine and the EU, the implementation of reforms in Ukraine, the conflict in the Donbas and the Crimea. On the website of the European Union it was also stated that will be discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements. In addition, the participants gathered to discuss security at the border with Transnistria, the implementation of the agreement on the abolition of visas between Ukraine and the EU, and energy security, in particular the question of the construction of Russian gas pipeline “Nord stream-2”, told “Radio Liberty” Deputy head of the presidential administration of Ukraine Konstantin Eliseev.
The agreement on visa-free travel for Ukrainians with biometric passports to the countries of the European Union entered into force in June. Negotiations on visa-free regime lasted ten years. At the opening session with the participation of Juncker and Tusk, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced that Ukraine visa-free regime with the EU is the “last “goodbye” of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.” According to Poroshenko, “bezveza” has been used by more than 100 thousand Ukrainians.
The Association agreement between Ukraine and the EU was finally ratified on 11 July and will come into force on 1 September. Prior to this agreement operated in a restricted mode. In the first quarter of 2017, the volume of mutual trade increased by 30% compared to the first quarter of 2016, according to the materials of the EU summit. According to Eurostat, the total trade turnover between Ukraine and the EU in 2016 amounted to €29,58 billion in 2015, it was at €26,86 billion in 2013 amounted to €37,77 billion.
At the final press-conference the representatives of the European Union supported the idea of territorial integrity of Ukraine, said that they condemn the annexation of Crimea to Russia, and also spoke in favor of the execution of the Minsk agreements on Ukraine. Tusk demanded immediate release of all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia.
President Poroshenko said that the summit had also discussed the possibility of preparing a new long-term plan to support Ukraine like a “Marshall plan”. Such a plan, he said, was proposed in may on the summit of the European people’s party. In the adopted resolution of the government of the EU countries are called upon to promote reform in Ukraine, however, the amount of necessary funds is not called.
Was discussed at the summit and complicated issues of bilateral relations. European Commission President Juncker at the press conference stressed the concern about the EU’s pace of fighting corruption in Ukraine. “The Parliament [of Ukraine] has done everything necessary, but the situation is not satisfactory,” he said, and invited the Ukrainians to create a special anti-corruption chamber. “If you don’t destroy corruption, investors will not come to Ukraine. This is something on which we insist,” said Juncker.
Petro Poroshenko and Jean-Claude Juncker
(Photo: Valentin Ogirenko / Reuters)
The chamber, according to Juncker, can be replacement of the anti-corruption court, which insisted the EU. The requirement to establish anti-corruption court is also a condition of the continuation of the program of cooperation of Ukraine with the International monetary Fund. However, the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko in may, said that it will be enough to create a specialized chamber of judges in corruption cases. Its creation may take six months, said Lutsenko.
The European Union cannot be indifferent to Ukraine’s decision to extend the export duty on the metal, said Kateryna Zarembo, Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Institute of world politics. The European Union also accuses Kiev of failing part of previous agreements. For example, from 1 October 2015 in Ukraine has a ten-year moratorium on the export of round timber, discriminate against the EU. In November 2016, Juncker promised Ukraine a third tranche in the amount of €600 million in exchange for the resumption of exports. However, until now the Ukrainian authorities refused to remove the restriction. The head of The parliamentary faction of the Radical party Oleg Lyashko 2 Dec 2016 said that “the Parliament votes the abolition of the moratorium was not and never will be.” The same situation with export duties on scrap metal, for which extension for another two years, the Verkhovna Rada voted on June 8. “Renew duties on scrap metal is not a balanced solution and is contrary to international obligations of Ukraine”, — reads the statement of the EU delegation in Ukraine on the page in Facebook.
The final question
“Ukraine has clearly declared its European aspirations and the European choice. And we do it not give. And nobody has the right we have to take,” said Poroshenko at the summit. He also offered to make a “road map” of Ukraine’s integration into the EU. However, the reaction of the European colleagues at a press conference on this proposal was not followed.
Donald Tusk, Poroshenko and Jean-Claude Juncker
(Photo: Mikhail palinchak / TASS)
The summit ended without a final statement. As announced on 12 July by Deutsche Welle, citing a source at the European Commission, the parties planned to commit in a joint statement the point that the EU recognizes Ukraine’s European aspirations and welcomes its European choice, but the Netherlands, which until the end of last year refused to ratify the Association agreement of the EU with Ukraine, have strongly opposed such wording. They were supported by Germany and France. While Kiev insisted that the phrase included in the text in this form, otherwise the Ukrainian side would refuse to accept the joint statement.
Tusk at a press conference evaded the question of whether adopted the final statement with the acknowledgement of the European aspirations of Kiev. However, he said that the main document in the relations of the parties is the Association agreement. “I want to re-quote the [agreement]: “the EU acknowledges Ukraine’s European aspirations and welcomes its European choice,” — said Tusk.
“Ukraine is expected after the visa, she will get a direct perspective for joining the European Union. Petro Poroshenko had to show that part of the population that supported independence four years ago that Ukraine can really expect in the European Union. But it turns out now that not all member countries of the European Union was ready to provide such perspective, therefore, the summit was very routine,” commented the results of the scientific Director of the German-Russian forum Alexander Rahr.
The absence of a final Declaration at the summit is merely “a spoon of tar in a barrel of honey”, said Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko. “Such episodes were already in the history of summits between Ukraine and the European Union. And this is the first summit in recent years when the leaders of Ukraine and the European Union have something to boast about — a concrete, practical results for European integration,” he says. “Itself the outcome document, of course, important. This kind of political Declaration, but much more important for Ukraine is the Association agreement, i.e. an international legal agreement,” — said Fesenko.