The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement foresees a tailor-made institutional set up for EU-Ukraine relations.
At the top level, the EU-Ukraine Summit is established: The Summit presents the highest level of political dialogue and is a platform for meetings between the President of Ukraine and the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. EU-Ukraine Summits usually take place once a year, alternating between Kyiv and Brussels.
At ministerial level, the dialogue between the EU and Ukraine is conducted within the Association Council which can meet in any configuration. The Association Council also has the power to take binding decisions. The Association Council meets once a year, supervises the implementation of the PCA, consists of members of the Government of Ukraine on the one hand, and of the members of the EU Council and of the European Commission.
The Association Council is assisted in the performance of its duties by the Association Committee. The Association Committee has created Subcommittees at experts’ level to implement sector cooperation. Meeting in a special format, the Association Committee is also addressing the specific DCFTA issues. Both the Association Committee as well as the Subcommittees are tasked to monitor the progress in implementing economic, sectoral and trade chapters of the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda.
The Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC) consists of members of the Ukrainian Parliament and the European Parliament and meets twice a year.
It is the forum for political dialogue between parliamentarians from the European Union and Ukraine.
Another important element of the Association Agreement is the promotion of regular civil society meetings. Hence, a dedicated Civil Society Platform is established. The Platform will be able to make recommendations to the Association Council.
In order to ensure the correct implementation of the Association Agreement, the Agreement texts sets out some general and final provisions. A selection of these provisions is set out below:
One key provision underpinning the Association Agreement sets out the concept of gradual approximation of Ukraine’s legislation to EU norms and standards. Specific timelines are set within which Ukraine should approximate its legislations to the relevant EU legislation. These timelines vary between 2 and 10 years after the entry into force of the Agreement.
Another guiding provision sets out the concept of dynamic approximation. There was a need to set out this concept as the EU law and legislation is not static but under constant evolution. Thus the approximation process will be dynamic and should keep pace with the principal EU reforms, but in a proportionate way, taking account of Ukraine’s capacity to carry out the approximation.
In order to examine whether the commitments as set out in the Association Agreement are met, dedicated provisions related to monitoring were included in the Agreement. Monitoring means here to supervise the application and implementation of the Association Agreement, its objectives and commitments. It is a continuous appraisal of progress in implementing and enforcing measures and commitments covered by the Association Agreement. This monitoring process will be of a particular importance for the DCFTA as its positive result will be the prerequisite of any further market opening for the Ukrainian economic operators.
Monitoring will include the assessments of approximation of Ukraine’s legislation to the EU acts (and where applicable international instruments) as defined in the Association Agreement.
The Association Agreement also sets out a Dispute Settlement Mechanism. This mechanism would come into effect if obligations under the Association Agreement are not fulfilled by one of the Agreement Parties. For the DCFTA part, another binding trade specific Dispute Settlement Mechanism is set out in form of a dedicated protocol. This trade specific mechanism is inspired by traditional WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
The duration of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is unlimited. At the same time the Parties will undertake a comprehensive review of the achievement of objectives under the Agreement within five years.