European Union External Action

Ukraine and the EU

EU-Ukraine relations are set out in an Association Agreement.

The Agreement details the shared commitment of the EU and Ukraine to a close, long-term relationship based on common values, notably respect for democratic principles, rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Agreement is designed to generate opportunities for development and prosperity throughout Ukraine and the wider region.

Ukraine is also a key partner country within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership, the latter involving all EU countries as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Regular discussions are held on matters of mutual interest, including through EU-Ukraine Presidential Summits which are held every year.

An EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) has been provisionally implemented. It will be fully operational once all 28 EU countries agree to it.

The DCFTA offers Ukraine a framework for modernising its trade relations and for economic development by opening up markets and harmonising laws, standards and regulations in various sectors. This will help align key sectors of the Ukrainian economy with EU standards.

Foreign trade is vitally important for both the Ukrainian and the EU economies, in terms of growth and jobs, lower prices, better quality and greater choice for consumers through increased competition, and so on. The EU is one of the most open economies in the world and was a strong supporter of Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Snapshot of trade statistics

In 2014, Ukraine was the EU's 25th largest trading partner and 22nd largest export market (1.0 %).

The EU is Ukraine's largest trading partner: over the first 9 months of 2015, 32.9 % of all Ukrainian goods exported went to the EU, while 39.1 % of goods imported came from the EU. EU-Ukraine trade in goods reached €20.4 billion over the first 9 months of 2015.

The main goods Ukraine exports to the EU are ferrous metals, iron ore, electric machinery and cereals. The main goods the EU exports to Ukraine are machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, textile and clothing, and agricultural products.

In April 2014, the EU adopted Autonomous Trade Measures (ATM) by which it liberalised exports from Ukraine to the EU in line with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Most Ukrainian goods can now be sold duty free on the EU market.


The EU is the largest foreign investor in Ukraine. Foreign direct investment (FDI) by EU countries has steadily increased over the past decade.

This looks set to continue under the DCFTA, as problems such as corruption, harassment by tax authorities and other issues will be addressed to help improve the investment climate in the country.

EU financial assistance to Ukraine

The EU is the largest donor to Ukraine. Since 1991, assistance provided by the European Community alone has amounted to over €3.5 billion. The level of financial support has generally been increasing over the past decade. The EU's financial assistance is aimed at supporting reform and European integration in Ukraine.

Short- and medium-term priorities are set out as part of the European Agenda for Reform which is a roadmap for EU support encompassing a wide range of assistance measures, including:

  • constitutional reform and cooperation on energy matters;
  • opening the EU market to Ukrainian products;
  • reforming the judiciary and civil service;
  • visa liberalisation.

Recent milestones achieved under the European Agenda for Reform include:

  • A 'State Building Contract' (SBC) between the EU and Ukraine worth €355 million (plus €10 million of support for civil society) to help Ukraine's government address economic stabilisation needs and implement governance reform order, fight corruption, and so on. Performance indicators have been set up for this and are monitored in cooperation with civil society;    
  • A Memorandum of Understanding to provide assistance to Ukraine which is necessary to give effect to the €1.61 billion Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) loan programme introduced.

Online consultation       

This part of the website allows civil society organisations (CSOs) to provide their views on how the relationship between Ukraine and the EU will develop in the future. To take part, organisations can simply register online.

The database of contributors will help the Delegation see who is interested in different policy aspects so that more focused consultations can be conducted in the future. As the database will be in the public domain, it will also ensure that organisations' contributions are made in a transparent manner.

Topics can include discussions on draft political and operational documents, consultations on ad hoc initiatives or establishment of priorities in programmes of specific interest to civil society. All contributions to individual consultations are available on the website. The Commission also posts feedback on the website, enabling us to create a productive and useful record of interaction between the European Commission and civil society. 

EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Ukraine

The EU Delegation, together with EU countries and in consultation with civil society and national authorities, developed the EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Ukraine. The Roadmap identifies eight long-term priorities for cooperation and coordination in this area. The priorities cover an enabling environment, policy analysis, legitimacy, the Association Agreement, conflict, accountability, human rights, economic development, and many other areas of concern to CSOs.

The EU has been at the forefront of the response to the humanitarian crisis due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Humanitarian needs are still high: 3.8 million people are estimated to be in need. 

The European Union and its Member States have provided financial support to the most vulnerable people. Humanitarian aid totals €222 million, of which €88.1 million has been provided by the EU. This funding provides support to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict in the non-government controlled areas and along both sides of the contact line. This assistance addresses the basic needs of those most affected by the conflict, wherever they are. This includes provision of shelters, health care, protection, food and non-food items, water, sanitation and other emergency aid. If the right conditions are in place, assistance is delivered through cash and vouchers.

In addition, the EU contribution to early recovery and peacebuilding operations totals € 177million. Early recovery operations cover small repair works; activity to promote the social and economic integration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and to build links with host communities; mine risk education activities; psychosocial support to conflict-affected communities.

The  assistance  is  being  delivered  through  the  Commission's  humanitarian  partner  organisations, including  People  In  Need  (PIN),  ICRC, ACF, ACTED,  UNHCR, Save  the  Children,  Premiere Urgence International, MDM, DRC, NRC, OCHA and UNICEF.

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