Ukraine-EU Summit Joint Statement (20/12/2011)
Ukraine-EU Summit Joint Statement
- The 15th Ukraine-EU Summit took place in Kyiv on 19 December, 2011. Ukraine was represented by President Viktor Yanukovych. The European Union (EU) was represented by Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission.
- The leaders noted with satisfaction that chief negotiators had reached a common understanding on the full text of the Association Agreement which will establish the future contractual basis of EU-Ukraine relations. The way is now open for technical completion of the final consolidated version of the Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, with a view to its initialling at soon as possible.
- The leaders recognised the critical importance of the Association Agreement which would constitute a new stage in the development of Ukraine-EU contractual relations aiming at political association and economic integration. This would include a comprehensive process of convergence and approximation of Ukraine to European Union values, standards and norms in all areas of cooperation. To this end, the leaders underlined the importance of stepping up efforts in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda.
- The leaders exchanged views on the future of Ukraine-EU relations based on the objectives and the principles of the Association Agreement. This Association Agreement leaves open the way for further progressive developments in EU-Ukraine relations. The leaders recognised that Ukraine as a European country with European identity shares a common history and common values with the countries of the European Union and acknowledged that gradual convergence of Ukraine with the EU in political, economic and legal areas would contribute to further progress in EU-Ukraine relations. The EU acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomed its European choice.
- The leaders recalled that the Association Agreement provides for a shared commitment to a close and lasting relationship that is based on common values, in particular full respect for democratic principles, rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, non-discrimination of persons belonging to minorities and respect for diversity and human dignity.
- The leaders reconfirmed the commitment to the rule of law with an independent judiciary, recognizing this as a critical element underpinning the Association Agreement: at the same time they noted the specific challenges in this area which require urgent attention, notably through judicial reform. They also stressed the importance of a free media and of freedom of assembly, and agreed on the need further to improve the existing legislation in Ukraine in these areas in order to bring it in line with the international standards.They reached a common understanding that Ukraine’s performance, notably in relation to respect for common values and the rule of law, will be of crucial importance for the speed of its political association and economic integration with the EU, including in the context of conclusion of the Association Agreement and its subsequent implementation.
- The leaders discussed developments related to constitutional, electoral and judicial reforms in Ukraine and recognized the advantages of pursuing these reforms further in a transparent and inclusive manner, with the involvement of the opposition and significant participation of civil society representatives.
- The leaders reconfirmed their commitment to create the institutional, regulatory and technical conditions for the implementation of the Association Agreement and the establishment of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. They recognised that such a deep and comprehensive free trade area, linked to the broader process of legislative approximation, has the potential to contribute to further economic integration with the European Union Internal Market as envisaged in the Association Agreement. They also agreed on critical importance of further efforts to improve the business climate in Ukraine.
- The leaders took positive note of the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation and reconfirmed their shared commitment to move towards visa-free travel regime in due course, provided that conditions for well managed and secure mobility set out in the Action Plan are in place. As an intermediate step towards a visa-free travel regime, they welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations on amending the Visa Facilitation Agreement in view of further facilitating the issuance of visas to Ukrainian citizens.
- The leaders had an exchange on international and regional issues of common interest, in particular relations with Belarus and Russia. As regards the Republic of Moldova, they leaders noted their convergence of views on the Transnistria settlement process, in the light of the recent resumption of official negotiations in the “5+2” format.