EU-Ukraine summit will take place in Brussels on 25 February (22/02/2013)

The 16th EU-Ukraine Summit will take place in Brussels on 25 February. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, will represent the EU. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger and Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle will also attend. Ukraine will be represented by President Viktor Yanukovych.

The main focus of discussions at this summit is expected to be Ukraine’s reform agenda, linked to the possible signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which will also provide for the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Leaders will discuss the following themes:

Political association, as envisaged in the initialled EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and in particular the concrete aspects as set out in the Council conclusions adopted at the Foreign Affairs Council of 10 December 2012.

Economic integration, notably trade questions and the establishment of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, the macro-economic situation in Ukraine and possibilities for EU macro-financial and financial assistance, energy issues as well as public finance management and administration reforms.

Mobility, including the latest developments regarding the implementation of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation and the ratification of the amending Visa Facilitation Agreement.

Regional and international issues in the context of Ukraine’s OSCE Chairmanship as well as the preparation of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November, relations with neighbouring countries.

Ahead of the summit EU reminds that the Association Agreement could be signed in the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013, if determined action is taken and tangible progress made by Ukraine in three areas: the compliance of the 2012 parliamentary elections with international standards and follow-up actions, progress in addressing the issue of selective justice and preventing its recurrence, implementation of reforms defined in the jointly agreed Association Agenda.

 

Background

The European Union and its member states continue to be the largest donor to Ukraine: since 1991, assistance provided by the EU alone has amounted to over € 3 billion. The European neighbourhood policy instrument allocates € 470 million to Ukraine for the years 2011 to 2013. This goes to support action in three priority areas: good governance and the rule of law; facilitating the entry into force of the Association Agreement, and sustainable development, including energy and environment.

The EU accounted for 29% of Ukraine’s external trade in 2011, being its second commercial partner (after Russia). The EU-Ukraine trade relationship is dynamic: in the last ten years, bilateral trade grew by more than 160%, well above the average growth of EU trade with the rest of the world. Investment flows from the EU to Ukraine have also shown remarkable growth, passing from € 14 billion in 2008 to almost € 24 billion in 2011. In 2012, total trade between Ukraine and the EU was in excess of € 38 billion, including almost € 24 billion of European exports to Ukraine and € 14.5 billion of Ukrainian exports to Europe.

 

The EU is promoting reforms of the Ukrainian gas market in accordance with EU rules and standards and the integration of Ukraine into the EU's internal energy market. In this spirit, Ukraine also joined the Energy Community in February 2011, providing benefits in terms of needed investment into the energy sector, efficiency and supply diversification and thus security of supply. The EU is also a key partner of Ukraine in the modernisation of its gas transit infrastructure.

An amended Visa Facilitation agreement with Ukraine was signed in July 2012 and will enter into force once the ratification process has been completed. It will bring additional facilitations, for instance simplified lists of supporting documents will be required for certain categories of Ukrainian citizens; more persons will be eligible for multiple-entry long-term visas; obtaining multiple-entry visas will be facilitated and more categories of persons will be able to benefit from visa fee waivers.

An Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation (VLAP), setting out the conditions to be met before the possible establishment of a visa-free travel regime for Ukrainian citizens, is currently being implemented.

Ukraine is a member of the EU's Eastern Partnership, its specific multilateral framework for the EU's Eastern neighbours. It is based on a community of values and the principles of democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. In September 2011, the Eastern Partnership Summit in Warsaw put forward several concrete ideas for enhancing existing relationships, notably by strengthening the role of civil society. The Vilnius Summit in November 2013 will be another opportunity to demonstrate the EU’s commitment to the Eastern neighbourhood.

Read full background document on EU-Ukraine summit