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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article29 January 2020Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Remarks by Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi after the EU-Ukraine Association Council

Let me also welcome the Prime Minister [Oleksiy Honcharuk] here. It’s his first visit in Brussels. And we a new team on the side of the Commission and this new team is a geopolitical Commission and of course geopolitical Commission starts in our...

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Let me also welcome the Prime Minister [Oleksiy Honcharuk] here. It’s his first visit in Brussels. And we a new team on the side of the Commission and this new team is a geopolitical Commission and of course geopolitical Commission starts in our neighbourhood. We want to therefore demonstrate our seriousness and commitment to our relationship.

Before going into the details of the discussions we have had, let me express our condolences over the recent downing of the Ukranian plane in Teheran.

The substantive part of the meeting today focused on the reforms and their implementation. Quite a bit of progress has been made by the new Government. Very important reform steps have been made. We are aligned, I think, with the Prime Minister and the Ukrainian government that further reform progress should be achieved to help to create growth and prosperity in Ukraine.

We are happy to see that the trade is going up at a steady pace. And we hope to continue along that line: the Association Agreement with its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area part is the basis of this. But there is still a lot which could achieved through the implementation of the agreement.

We are ready to support the aim of the Ukranian government to increase significantly foreign direct investment but, of course, in this a key factor is the rule of law and the business environment, including the eradication of corruption. In that regard, important steps have been made by the creation of the High Anticorruption Court. But the institution building and the fight against corruption need to continue.

We have also discussed the issue of the independence of the judiciary and the need to ensure that consistently. We also welcome the commitment taken by the Ukrainian Government to continue the decentralisation reform and also the public administration reform.

We also concurred on the need to ensure the respect for rights already exercised by persons belonging to national minorities. In this context, we noted the steps taken by Ukraine to implement the recommendation of the Venice Commission and underlined the need to fully implement these recommendations.

We are ready to continue our support to Ukraine’s economic development and we are committed to reduce the development gap between the EU and our neighbours. Structural reforms are necessary to sustain the growth path, including land reform, further improvement of business climate and corporate governance of state owned enterprises. We will continue to accompany Ukraine in these efforts, for example, by supporting the digital transformation, such as launching a programme on eGovernance and digital economy.

Our commitment to the success of Ukraine is best demonstrated also by the support package our Member States and the EU has been providing since 2014. All together 17 billion euros were dispensed as assistance from the Member States and the EU.

Today we have signed another agreement, a very important one, to support the agriculture and the small farm development of Ukraine, worth 26 million euros.

And lastly I want to thank you, Prime Minister, for all the work you are doing, which I’m going to check also on the ground when I will be happy to visit Ukraine on 11 and 12 February.

Thank you.

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