Ninth meeting of the EU-Ukraine Co-operation Committee
Kyiv, 31st January 2007
Political dialogue and reform
- The sides discussed the political situation in Ukraine, and the importance of developing a constitutionally-balanced system in Ukraine with necessary checks and balances. Both sides agreed that it was vital to consolidate achievements of the political reform process in Ukraine , such as democratic elections, the freedom of expression and the media. They agreed to continue their cooperation in other key areas of the Action Plan that need particular attention, notably he strengthening of the rule of law, the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms [in Ukraine].
- The sides discussed the need to upgrade the fight against corruption and the continuation of the judicial reform, so as to ensure the independence and efficiency of the judiciary. The sides noted the work which had been done by Ukraine to establish the system of public broadcasting. Ukraine informed the EU side about latest developments in the inquiry into the case of Mr Gongadze. Ukraine also informed about the steps it is taking towards ratifying the ICC Rome Statute and the 2nd Optional Protocol (OP) to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for the abolition of the death penalty.
- The sides positively assessed the bilateral cooperation in foreign and security policy. Ukraine’s aligning with EU declarations and statements on regional and international matters was noted as a positive example of this. The Ukrainian side reiterated its strong hope of continuing as soon as possible consultations on the possible EU use of Ukraine’s long haul air transport capacities in ESDP operations as envisaged by EU-Ukraine Action Plan of 21 February 2005.
- As to the regional framework, both sides agreed on the importance of continued cooperation in tackling the “frozen conflicts”, notably concerning the settlement of Transnistria conflict. The sides welcomed the work of EUBAM. The EU side welcomed steps taken by Ukraine towards implementing EUBAM’s recommendations. Both sides agreed to continue a coordinated approach towards Belarus.
- The Ukrainian side informed on the state of play of the implementation of “Destruction of the PFM 1 type antipersonnel mines in Ukraine”.
Economic and social reform and development
- Both sides welcomed the rebound of economic growth in 2006. Both sides acknowledged the challenges that higher energy prices pose on the macroeconomic outlook and the need to give a new impetus to structural reforms, in areas such as fiscal policies, monetary and exchange rate policies, the privatisation process and agricultural policies (including a functioning land market), to realise robust GDP growth and low inflation in the medium-term. Both sides agreed that continued growth is a condition for the sustainability of social policies regarding the creation of employment and combat poverty.
- The EU side will provide information in writing about the economic development in the EU and the implementation of the Lisbon agenda.
- The sides agreed to continue their dialogue on the Government’s plans to strengthen the operational mandate and independence of the National Bank of Ukraine.
Trade, market and regulatory reform, customs cooperation
- The sides agreed to cooperate closely in order to facilitate Ukraine’s last steps towards finalisation of the WTO accession process.
- The sides agreed to discuss the underlying reasons for the growing trade imbalance. The sides are interested in the joint projects implementation in the field of statistics concerning data comparison between Ukraine and EU Member States to determine the causes of possible data discrepancies.
- Both sides concurred on the importance of a transparent, predictable and non-discriminatory trade regime; in this context, the Ukrainian side will keep the EU side updated on the implementation of export restricting measures for certain types of products and will continue an open dialogue with a view to resolving these issues expeditiously.
- /The Ukrainian side stressed the importance of carrying out the dialogue in the area of trade defence instruments. /
- The Ukrainian side expressed its concern over the publications in press of ungrounded information about the facts of supply from Ukraine of metal products allegedly manufactured using the radioactive metal scrap
- Both sides agreed to continue cooperation with a view to improving the business climate in Ukraine, which is key to attract domestic and foreign investors. To this end the Ukrainian side briefed the EU side on the planned reforms of the legal and judicial system including reform of company law and elimination of inconsistencies between different legislative acts. The EU side stressed the importance of solving the continuous problems in managing VAT refunds. The Ukrainian side reported about plans to reform Tax System, covering, i.a., issues of VAT refunds and FEZs. Both sides agreed to organise an expert meeting on these issues before the next Subcommittee on Trade and Investment.
- The sides welcomed the progress in negotiating an Agreement of Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA). Both sides agreed that building up of the administrative, legal and technical capacity to manage and enforce legislation remains the key challenge and objective.
- The sides agreed to continue and enhance cooperation on SPS issues. Regarding the ban on imports of meat products from Poland, the EU side urged Ukraine to lift this ban. Ukraine informed the EU side regarding the measures which are being taken in order to resolve the issue. Ukraine will provide the proposal on fish exports to the EU.
- On competition policy, the sides welcome the fact that Ukrainian competition policy will be "peer reviewed" in the OECD Global Forum on Competition in October 2007.
- On government procurement, the sides agreed to discuss the planned legislative initiatives in this field at expert level.
- On intellectual property rights it was agreed to continue the good cooperation through the IPR dialogue. The sides agreed that resolution of issues related to GIs and IPR enforcement in general remain key priorities.
- The sides welcomed the launch of the dialogue on Agricultural policy, which will facilitate co-operate in the field.
- On customs policy it was agreed to continue and further enhance cooperation regarding effective fight against smuggling and intellectual property infringements, as well as on customs classification and valuation. The Ukrainian side expressed its wish to take steps to elaborate a detailed mechanism for exchange of customs information between the customs administrations of the sides.
- The sides welcomed the excellent cooperation established between the Government of Ukraine and the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) referring to the government decision to ensure that EUBAM recommendations are fully implemented.
Co-operation in Justice and Home Affairs
- The sides welcomed the understanding reached on the revised JLS Action Plan and agreed to use already now this revised Plan, which is to be officially endorsed at the next Cooperation Council, as the primary tool to strengthen partnership and co-operation between the EU and Ukraine in the JLS field.
- The sides welcomed the initialling of the readmission and visa facilitation agreements at the EU-Ukraine Summit in October, as an important step. Both sides agreed to strive to speedily reach signature, conclusion and ratification with the aim to reach entry into force of the agreements in the course of 2007.
- The sides also emphasised the importance of implementing the conclusions of the EU-Ukraine JLS Ministerial Troika of last October.
Energy, transport, information society and environment
- The sides welcomed the progress that had been made on energy cooperation, towards the implementation of the relevant Action Plan objectives and of the Memorandum of Understanding, confirming this as a priority area of co-operation.
- The sides agreed that co-operation on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources should be further strengthened: this should be discussed in more detail at the next meeting of the relevant PCA Subcommittee.
- Regarding Ukraine’s observer status in the Energy Community Treaty, the EU side reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s eventual full accession, and confirmed that this is dependent on the satisfactory assessment of the level of nuclear safety in all operating Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
- Regarding the safety evaluation of the Ukrainian NPPs, the sides agreed to work urgently towards a mutually acceptable Work Programme for the Joint Working Group on Nuclear Safety.
- On the Chornobyl NPP decommissioning and turning the “Shelter” installation into the environmentally safe system: both sides agreed to continue efforts with a view of resolving of outstanding issues, such as re-launching the works over the project of construction of Spent Nuclear Fuel Store at Chornobyl NPP, refilling the Nuclear Safety Account with funds, which are necessary to complete the Spent Nuclear Fuel Store, completion of construction works of a Liquid Radioactive Waste Treatment Plant and Industrial Complex for the Solid Radioactive Waste Management, activities in the framework of the “Shelter” Implementation Plan.
- On aviation, the sides looked forward to starting negotiations on a common aviation area between the EU and Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian side urged the EU side to provide support on the issue of the inspection of the Shipping Register of Ukraine. The EU side will follow up, and come back to this issue.
- The Ukrainian side also urged the EU side to continue its support with respect to Ukraine’s application to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
- On telecommunications, the EU side welcomed the plans for the Rada’s endorsement of the national concept for the development of telecommunications to 2010; both sides agreed to continue discussions at expert level on key issues such as opening the market, completing the regulatory framework and administrative capacity of the National Communications Regulatory Commission.
- Regarding Ukraine’s approval of Joint Implementation projects under the Kyoto Protocol the sides agreed to continue discussions on practical cooperation for Joint implementation projects in Ukraine.
- Regarding the Bystroe project, the EU side emphasised the importance for Ukraine to follow the conclusions of the Inquiry Commission under the Espoo Convention regarding notification to Romania, and consultations and public participation, in line with Convention provisions.
- The sides welcomed the successful "International Conference on Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Danube Delta" hosted by Ukraine in February 2006. The EU side emphasised the importance to follow up agreements reached – particularly regarding the preparation and implementation of a river basin management plan for the Danube Delta sub-basin, based on the EU Water Framework Directive approach, under the leadership of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). The Ukrainian side confirmed that in the course of implementation of Ukraine’s project on restoration of the Danube-Black Sea deep-water ship passage, Ukraine would firmly adhere to the norms of national environmental legislation and honour its international commitments.
- On health, both sides welcomed active discussions on implementation of the Action Plan’s public health objectives. Both sides agreed to continue and enhance cooperation, including in the context of the new EU Health Strategy.
- Both sides agreed to continue cooperation which aims at making Ukraine’s higher education system fully compliant with theBologna principles. One An important element of this cooperation will be Ukraine’s reinforced participation in Erasmus Mundus programme and in a new Tempus programme.
- Both sides will strive to increase encourage participation of Ukrainian youth organisations and young people in the EU Youth in Action programme to develop and support voluntary activity and youth exchanges.
- Both sides will strive to promote Ukraine’s participation at the Jean Monnet Action to strengthen further the teaching of European integration at university-level.
- The Ukrainian side agreed to accelerate procedures for the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions and for ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television and to inform the EU side of developments.
- The sides agreed to upgrade cooperation in the context of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and to continue to work on the establishment development of a structured EU-Ukraine dialogue on science and technology, as well as space research.
- Both sides stressed the importance of cross-border cooperation as one of the key elements of interaction between adjoining regions of EU Member States and Ukraine. In this context the Ukrainian side emphasized the necessity to start up the practical phase of implementation of Romania-Ukraine Neighbourhood programme as soon as possible.
- The EU side gave a short overview of the status of EU assistance. Both sides agreed on the need to use new possibilities under the ENPI, having noted the positive dynamics in introducing the TWINNING and TAIEX capacity building tools. To this end a separate meeting has to be provided to define measures which should be taken by both sides to make full use of the opportunities of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, involve Ukraine in the Community’s thematic programmes, as well as receive information about the future process of the EU external assistance decentralisation in Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian side stressed the interest in implementation of infrastructure projects within the framework of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.
- Both sides agreed toaim at creating strong synergies between EIB lending and ENPI grant funding.
- In order to avoid any delays in the implementation of the 2006 (Tacis) Action programmes the EU side emphasized the importance of a speedy signature of the relevant Financing Agreements and ratification of the new Framework Agreement for EC assistance. The Ukrainian side noted the necessity to preliminarily approve texts of the financial agreements in this field prior to signature.
Preparations of negotiations of the new Enhanced Agreement including an FTA: state of play
- The Ukrainian side welcomed the adoption by the Council of the European Union on 22 January 2007 of the mandate to the European Commission for negotiations regarding the conclusion of a new agreement between Ukraine and the EU concerning the negotiation of a new Agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
- The sides agreed on the necessity to conclude a new ambitious Agreement which would promote the deepening of political cooperation and economic integration between Ukraine and the EU.
- The Ukrainian side confirmed its aspiration to include a clause into a new Agreement concerning the openness of the European Union to Ukraine.
- The sides expressed readiness to start negotiation of a new Agreement between Ukraine and EU in the nearest future.
- The sides agreed that negotiations on the Free Trade Area will start once the process of Ukraine's accession to the WTO has been finalized.