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 ndependence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Association Agreement (AA), including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) signed in 2014, is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together, promoting deeper political ties, stronger economic links and respect for common values. Ukraine continues an ambitious reform programme to accelerate economic growth 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 and decentralisation. Since 2014, the EU and the Financial Institutions have
mobilised more than €15 billion in grants and loans to support the reform process, with strong conditionality on continued progress.
Relations between the European Union and Armenia are based on the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), a modern, 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.
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 designed to enhance the political dialogue, trade and mutually beneficial cooperation. Azerbaijan is a strategic energy partner for the EU and plays a pivotal role in bringing Caspian energy resources to the EU market. In 2018, the EU and Azerbaijan endorsed joint Partnership Priorities, along the four Eastern Partnership priorities that guide our political dialogue and cooperation.
The Council today adopted a decision on the conclusion of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and Vietnam. This decision clears the path, on the EU side, for the entry into force of the agreement. Once the Vietnamese National Assembly also ratifies the FTA, the agreement can enter into force, most likely in early summer 2020.
The EU and 15 other members of the WTO today decided on an arrangement that will allow them to bring appeals and solve trade disputes among them despite the current paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti has announced on Thursday that Kosovo would lift tariffs on imports of raw materials from Serbia and from Bosnia and Herzegovina. We welcome this announcement as a first step and are looking forward to seeing more details.
This step could have a positive effect on restoring regional trade and offer an opening for the resumption of the Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina facilitated by the European Union.
The European Commission welcomes today's decision by the European Parliament to approve the EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements. The EU-Vietnam trade agreement is now set to enter into force in 2020, upon conclusion of the ratification procedure by Vietnam. The trade agreement will eliminate virtually all tariffs on goods traded between the two sides and will guarantee – through its strong, legally binding and enforceable commitments on sustainable development – the respect of labour rights, environmental protection and the Paris Agreement on climate.
It will soon be easier and more profitable to trade with Singapore. The free trade agreement (FTA) signed by the European Union and the Republic of Singapore on 19 October 2018 is due to enter into force on 21 November 2019, as a consequence of the decision adopted by the Council today on the conclusion of this agreement.
The third progress report on the implementation of the European Union Global Strategy, “The EU Global Strategy in Practice - Three years on, looking forward” looks at the progress achieved over the past three years, since the presentation of the Global Strategy in June 2016, in five priority areas - the security of the Union, state and social resilience to our east and south, an integrated approach to conflicts and crises, cooperative regional orders and global governance for the 21st century - and provides possible orientations for the way forward in the coming years.