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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the President of Ukraine Mr Yanukovich
Kiev, 18 April 2011
I just had a constructive meeting with President Yanukovych.
We naturally shared our hopes and expectations for the Chernobyl Summit. I am confident that the high-level events tomorrow will bring the desired results, notably in securing the necessary funds to complete the safety work on the Chernobyl site.
The EU is fully committed to supporting nuclear safety and especially regarding Chernobyl. Tomorrow, I will on behalf of the Commission announce an extra EU pledge of about €110 million. We are already contributing the lion's share to these projects so far – roughly a quarter (€ 470 million): for nuclear safety, but also to improve local living conditions.
At the same time, the EU has launched nuclear safety tests for plants on its territory, to ensure the highest possible safety for our citizens.
We expect our international partners to do the same. This is clearly a global issue that needs a global response. Nuclear issues do not respect borders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We also focused on the upcoming opportunities in our bilateral relationship between the EU and Ukraine, including in particular the negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, implementation of the Visa Action Plan and the wider reform agenda. President Yanukovich recently stated that an EU integration strategy is a key element of his political approach. It is important that Ukraine continues filling this European agenda with life.
On the future EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, we both confirmed our determination to conclude negotiations in the course of this year but there is still much work to do.
But there is still much work to do. Especially the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area aspects are demanding. More specifically, it is key that the treaty contains a meaningful energy chapter and the elimination of all export duties.
This treaty, and the increased trade and modernization that it will bring, will deliver important benefits to citizens in Ukraine and the EU. This is not just another treaty, it is a transformational agenda. That's why we should keep working on it with determination.
I also stressed the importance of political aspects of the treaty. Common values - human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law - are the fundament of our relationship. And they are critical for Ukraine’s future development, as is a cross-party consensus on the reform agenda. Once more we had an open dialogue on these issues.
I also stressed the need to make progress in improving the business and investment climate. Ukraine's prosperity depends on being open, competitive and innovative. So moving on that front is clearly in its very own interest.
On the Visa Action Plan, President Yanukovych underlined Ukraine's efforts. The EU will support them. We recognize the importance of this issue for Ukraine.
Finally, in the energy field we celebrated Ukraine’s accession to the Energy Community. You also just witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement on nuclear safety worth 48 million euro. This demonstrates the commitment of the to nuclear safety, at home and beyond it's borders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you can see, the European Union and Ukraine share a broad and ambitious agenda. We have the common will to go forward.
2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the Ukrainian declaration of independence. I also want it to be the year in which Ukraine and the EU come closer together. Because Ukraine is more than just a country located at the borders of the EU. It is a key neighbour and a close partner.
Thank you very much.