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Brussels, 28 April 2005

The Commission and Ukraine strengthen energy cooperation in the framework of the EU-Ukraine Neighbourhood Action Plan

On the occasion of his visit to Kiev, the Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, today met with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Oleh Rybachuk, and with the Minister for Fuel and Energy, Ivan Plachkov. This visit follows the recent adoption of the EU – Ukraine Neighbourhood Action plan and the recognition of energy as a priority area for strengthened EU-Ukraine cooperation. The talks aimed at providing the political guidance for achieving in the coming months progress on issues of common interest such as Ukrainian energy market liberalisation, energy efficiency, renewable energies, nuclear safety and cooperation on broader infrastructure projects. In addition the two parties signed an Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: ‘’I am very pleased that both sides strongly agree to strengthen cooperation on energy issues. Ukraine and the EU can only benefit from closer co-operation on key energy issues, such us electricity and gas market development, coal and energy efficiency.’’

Commissioner Piebalgs visit in Kiev reflects the EU’s clear commitment to continue and to intensify energy cooperation with Ukraine. Energy is considered among the priority cooperation areas in the EU – Ukraine Action Plan which was endorsed at the EU – Ukraine Cooperation Council meeting on 21 February 2005. The GAERC on 21 February agreed on measures in support of democratic and reform minded Ukraine which referred to an enhanced cooperation in key sectors, including energy. The priority is recognised by both sides. This cooperation covers an wide range of issues:

  • assistance to energy policy reform in Ukraine,
  • assistance to Ukraine’s energy market towards gradual convergence to the principles of the EU internal electricity and gas markets,
  • cooperation on Energy networks,
  • assistance to Ukraine’s mine restructuring plan,
  • support for energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources,
  • and an extensive cooperation on nuclear energy and nuclear safety issues.

During the meetings, it was agreed that the Commission and Ukraine will meet annually at ministerial level to review progress and if appropriate to establish additional energy cooperation activities.

The discussions that took place during the visit included several specific issues, such as the importance of the implementation of the tripartite agreement of the use of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline, continued cooperation on gas transit, and the reform of coal mining sector with a specific focus on safety. Nuclear safety issues linked with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant Shelter Implementation Plan where the EU is the single largest contributor as well as the upgrading of K2R4[1] reactors were largely discussed.

Concerning the signing of the Euratom – Ukraine Cooperation agreement[2] Commissioner Piebalgs said: ‘’The Agreement underlines the Commission’s commitment to strengthen nuclear safety around the world. The non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is also an essential part of the Agreement as well as the prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear material, crucial for the prevention of nuclear terrorism.’’ The Agreement refers to international trade in nuclear materials and expressly states that the nuclear material must only be used for peaceful purposes. Negotiations for the new Agreement started in April 1999. Today’s signature of the Agreement opens a new chapter in the successful relationship between the EU and Ukraine.

[1] 2nd unit at Khmelnitsky and 4th unit at Rivne Nuclear power plants

[2] Agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

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