The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, represented the European Union. Ukraine was represented by its President, Petro Poroshenko. From the European Commission, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, and Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Cecilia Malmström also attended.
Speaking at the joint press conference, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: "More steps have been taken in the last three years than in the previous twenty; Ukraine should be proud of what it has achieved".
The EU and Ukraine: stronger together
Since the last EU – Ukraine Summit, which took place in Brussels in November 2016, a significant amount of progress has been made, bringing positive change to the lives of Ukrainian and EU citizens.
The ratification of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/ DCFTA), two days ago, will mean its full entry into force on 1 September 2017. The Association Agreement provides the blueprint for Ukraine's ambitious reform path and fosters trade and investment between the European Union and Ukraine. After more than one year of provisional application of the DCFTA, trade has grown by 10%, cementing the EU as Ukraine's first trading partner. In addition, leaders welcomed the political agreement to grant autonomous trade measures for Ukraine, which would further boost bilateral trade through the elimination of additional tariffs and customs duties on agricultural and industrial products.
The Summit in Kyiv took place exactly one month and two days after the historic celebrations of visa free travel for Ukrainian citizens with a biometric passport to the Schengen area. With visa free travel now in place, and Ukraine committed to continuing to implement all the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation action plan, European and Ukrainian citizens will have the opportunity for increased interactions and contacts, bringing our populations closer than ever before. In the first month, over 95,000 Ukrainian citizens visited the Schengen area under the new conditions.
The leaders assessed the state of play in Ukraine's implementation of its ambitious reform efforts. The Ukrainian authorities have undertaken intense and unprecedented reforms in many areas, including:
- public broadcasting
- the judiciary
- police reform
- public administration
- public finance management and procurement
- the banking system
- health care
This has been achieved despite severe security challenges caused by the ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine. At the Summit, EU leaders stressed the importance of continuing such efforts and strengthening the implementation of reforms in crucial areas such as anti-corruption. Fresh impetus to strengthening the functioning and independence of anticorruption institutions, such as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the removal of the extension of e-declaration of assets to activists of anti-corruption NGOs, setting up a high anti-corruption court and ensuring transparency of the selection of judges to the Supreme Court, are vital in this respect. In this context, the Summit provided the EU and Ukraine to identify further reform priorities for the coming months and years. President Poroshenko outlined the Strategy 2020 and the Government's Action Plan 2017-2020. Both sides agreed on the importance of continuing to accelerate reforms and their sustained implementation.
The European Union is dedicating unprecedented support to Ukraine, which is linked to Ukraine's continued reform efforts. At the Summit, the European Union announced the preparation of €200 million of priority programmes for 2017 to support conflict-affected areas in the east of Ukraine; energy efficiency programmes, including contributions to the Energy Efficiency Fund established by Ukraine; public finance management; support to key reforms; and the implementation of the AA/DCFTA via a technical cooperation facility. The EU's newly-established External Investment Plan provides additional new funding opportunities for Ukraine.
Following the disbursement in April of the second tranche of EU macro-financial assistance, worth €600 million, EU leaders stressed the need for the Ukrainian authorities to accelerate implementation of all outstanding structural reform measures linked to the macro-financial assistance that includes all relevant anti-corruption commitments, the adoption of legislation in the energy and financial sectors, the repeal of the wood export ban, to bring an end to increased export duties on scrap metal, and social assistance and services to internally displaced people (IDPs).
The European Union reiterated its continued and unwavering support to Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The European Union condemns and does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. Leaders reiterated the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements as the basis for a sustainable and peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. They also discussed the continuing deterioration of human rights situation in non-government-controlled areas of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the violation of the rights of persons who do not recognise the illegal annexation, Crimean Tatars, as well as Ukrainians and persons belonging to other ethnic and religious groups.
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