Ukraine is a priority partner for the European Union (EU). The EU supports Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous and democratic future for its citizens, and is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Association Agreement (AA), including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together, promoting deeper political ties, stronger economic links and respect for common values. Since Spring 2014, Ukraine has embarked on an ambitious reform programme, aiming to stabilise its economy and improve the livelihoods of its citizens. Priority reforms include the ﬁght against corruption, reform of the judiciary, constitutional and electoral reforms, improvement of the business climate and energy efﬁciency, as well as reform of public administration, including decentralisation. Since 2014, the EU and the European Financial Institutions have mobilised a package of more than €15 billion in grants and loans to support the reform process, with strong conditionality on continued progress.
Confirming that a credible enlargement policy is a geostrategic investment in peace, stability, security and economic growth in the whole of Europe, the Commission adopted its annual assessment of the implementation of reforms in the Western Balkan partners and Turkey, together with recommendations on the next steps for those countries.
The European Union’s relations with Azerbaijan are based on the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership
and Cooperation Agreement in force since 1999. In February 2017, the EU and Azerbaijan began
negotiations on a new framework agreement with Azerbaijan designed to give new impetus to
political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Relations between the European Union and Armenia are based on the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership
Agreement (CEPA), a modern, comprehensive and ambitious Agreement, which was signed on 24 November 2017 in the margins of the
Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels and entered into provisional application on 1 June 2018. This Agreement provides a framework
for Armenia and the EU to work together for the benefit of the citizens of Armenia in the areas of strengthening democracy and
human rights, creating more jobs and business opportunities, fairer rules, more safety and security, cleaner environment as well as
better education and opportunities for research.
Bilateral relations between the European Union and Turkmenistan are governed by an Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters, which entered into force in August 2010, pending ratification of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) by the European Parliament.
The SA Council positively noted the European Commission's 2018 Albania Report, which recommended that accession negotiations be opened with Albania, in light of the progress achieved, maintaining and deepening the current reform momentum.
The Council welcomes the continued presence of Operation Althea, which in the follow up of the Strategic Review 2017 has refocused on its core mandate, while retaining the elements of capacity building and training deemed to be still necessary and phasing out the other elements no longer relevant.