EU-Ukraine: key MEPs support reforms and urge not to delay further visa-free regime
On Tuesday EP Foreign Affairs committee chair Elmar BROK (EPP, DE) and vice-chairs of the European Parliament’s delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee Tibor Szanyi (S&D, HU) and Kaja Kallas (ET, ALDE) issued a statement following the EU-Ukraine Association Council.
“The EU-Ukraine Association Council which was held yesterday was yet another demonstration of the close cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine, of our shared values and the willingness to deepen the process of political association and economic integration. We join the appreciation expressed on this occasion, from the EU side, for the reforms undertaken in the past few months by Ukraine in crucial areas, and welcome the signature of a number of new agreements related to the EU financial support to the reform process.
We furthermore express our satisfaction with the progress recently achieved on two cornerstones of the EU’s relations with Ukraine.
On the Association Agreement, the Heads of State and government have demonstrated their determination to find a common solution in order to create the conditions for the ratification by the Netherlands. Following the European Council conclusions on Ukraine adopted on 15 December, we call on the Netherlands to finalise the ratification process as soon as possible. We are as ever before deeply convinced of the merits of this Agreement, which is mutually beneficial to both Ukrainian and EU citizens, and remind of the historical simultaneous ratification by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the European Parliament more than two years ago - an unprecedented gesture of solidarity between two parliaments.
We also welcome the decisive progress made recently on the so-called “revised visa suspension mechanism”, which was, for the Council, a condition for the finalisation of the deliberations on the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens travelling in the Shengen area. Now that the revised visa suspension mechanism has been agreed and even already endorsed, on the European Parliament’s side, at the plenary level, visa-liberalisation for Ukraine should not be further delayed and we therefore call on the Council to accept the EP invitation to conclude the procedure.
Lastly, we hail the deepening of cooperation between the EU and Ukraine in the energy field, recently illustrated by the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership and the resuming of the trilateral talks. We remain concerned about the proposed doubling of capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline (“Nord Stream 2” project), and will therefore continue raising awareness about the counterproductive effects this would have on energy security and diversification of supply sources.
We look forward to the continuation of our cooperation with our Ukrainian counterparts in the Verkhovna Rada in 2017, in the spirit of trust and solidarity that has always guided our common work, in order to support the reform process, the democratic consolidation – including through the modernisation of the Verkhovna Rada - and the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”