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C/99/244

Brussels, 23 July 199910391/99 (Presse 244)

JOINT PRESS COMMUNIQUE

EU - Ukraine Summit

Kiev, 23 July 1999

President of the Republic of Ukraine, Mr Leonid Kuchma,

President of the European Council, Mr Paavo Lipponen, and

Member of the European Commission, Mr Hans van den Broek

    Today's EU - Ukraine summit marks a further step in the intensification of relations between the European Union and Ukraine since the entry into force of the EU - Ukraine Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) on 1 March 1998. The Agreement has established a strong legal basis for the further development of EU / Ukraine relations, and has brought a new quality to our relationship.

    The strategic partnership linking the European Union and Ukraine, based on shared values and common interest, is a vital factor enhancing peace, stability and prosperity in our countries, as well as in Europe as a whole. It reflects the aspirations of the EU and Ukraine for closer ties in trade, investment, political dialogue, and technical and other co-operation.

    At today's summit, we have reaffirmed our common attachment to Ukraine's independence and sovereignty, as well as to her democratic development, economic stabilisation and integration into the European and world economy. We have confirmed our mutual commitment to strengthening our relationship through the implementation of the PCA, and have reviewed progress made in implementing the Agreement since our last meeting in Vienna on 16 October 1998. In this context, we have discussed further steps to use to the full the considerable potential for further rapprochement between the European Union and Ukraine.

    We have discussed recent developments in Ukraine and in the EU, and have exchanged information on Ukraine's strategy of integration with the EU, as well as on the development of the EU's Common Strategy on Ukraine.

    We have discussed a range of topical foreign policy issues of common interest, including the situation in Kosovo and the Stability Pact for South East Europe, regional co-operation, and the situation in Transdniestria. The EU acknowledges the wish of Ukraine to take part in the realisation of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, and welcomes Ukraine's constructive role in seeking a settlement for the Transdniestrian conflict.

    It was acknowledged that the EU is the largest financial donor of Ukraine. Through macro-financial assistance, the Tacis programme, as well as through bilateral programmes, valuable support is provided to help Ukraine in her transition and reform process.

    At today's summit, we have identified the following concrete steps:

      In order to encourage the process of economic reform in Ukraine, the European Union has granted Ukraine an additional balance-of-payment loan of up to € 150 million. The first tranche of this loan, amounting to € 58 mn, will be made available to Ukraine in the coming days.

      As Ukraine's key partner in the field of technical co-operation, the EU will continue to provide significant assistance under the Tacis programme. The EU has stepped up its assistance to strengthen Ukraine's financial system, helping the National Bank of Ukraine to strengthen its supervisory capacity and reinforcing sound commercial practice among Ukraine's commercial banks. A new phase of the Tacis financed joint European-Ukrainian Policy and Legal Advice Centre (UEPLAC) project will be launched this autumn. UEPLAC has a valuable role to play in helping to facilitate the process of PCA implementation, including the approximation of Ukrainian legislation to EC standards.

      The involvement of the private sector is crucial to the success of the transition process in Ukraine.

      In order to foster the strengthening of two-way trade and investment, the EU and Ukraine will concentrate on making further progress in abolishing barriers to trade and investment as provided for in the PCA. The EU has expressed concern about the persistence in Ukraine of certain legislative measures affecting foreign trade and investment. The EU has encouraged the Ukrainian authorities to take appropriate measures to fully respect the provisions of the PCA.

      In order to facilitate Ukraine's full integration into the international economic system and successfully conclude negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the WTO, the EU and Ukraine will seek to move forward as much as possible on all outstanding issues related to this process, in full conformity with the respective rules. The EU will continue to support Ukraine's efforts to meet the requirements for WTO accession. The EU encourages the Ukrainian authorities to take appropriate measures for this purpose.

      While underlining the priority of Ukraine's accession to the WTO, the EU and Ukraine have reaffirmed their commitment to carry out a joint examination whether circumstances, in particular Ukraine's advances in market-oriented economic reforms and the prevailing economic conditions, allow the beginning of negotiations on the establishment of a Free Trade Area, as foreseen in Article 4 of the PCA. The joint study on the economic feasibility of a Free Trade Area between Ukraine and the EU, which is currently underway, will provide important input in this context.

      We welcome the signing of the INOGATE Umbrella Agreement at yesterday's INOGATE summit here in Kiev, hosted by Ukraine and attended by representatives of numerous countries and organisations, including all EU Member States and the European Commission. We also take note of the Ukrainian initiative to organise on 10-11 September 1999 a Balto-Black Sea summit in Yalta, as a contribution to the development of regional co-operation.

      The EU and Ukraine have reconfirmed their commitment to implementing the G-7 Memorandum of Understanding on the closure of Chernobyl, which is of crucial importance in guaranteeing the development of a modern, safe, efficient and environmentally sound energy sector in Ukraine. In support of Ukraine's decision to close the Chernobyl plant by the year 2000, the EU has reconfirmed its readiness to consider substantial loan financing for the completion of the Rovno 4 and Khmelnitsky 2 reactors, provided that these projects satisfy the necessary due diligence procedures and due burden sharing can be assured. The Community and its Member States are also providing a total of 210 million USD to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which makes the EU the largest provider of financial assistance for this operation. The EU and Ukraine have confirmed the crucial importance they attach to the reform of the Ukrainian energy sector in this context, and have welcomed the work of the Energy Task Force established to support the Ukrainian authorities in their efforts in this regard. The EU stands ready to continue technical assistance in this important area.

      In order to widen the scope of our partnership in the areas of nuclear safety and controlled thermonuclear fusion, the EU and Ukraine have today signed co-operation agreements in these two domains. These Agreements will lead to enhanced cooperation on such issues as radiation protection, waste management, decontamination and dismantling of nuclear installations, and studies in the field of fusion technology.


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