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Following the EU-Ukraine Association Council held on 8 December, Dariusz Rosati (EPP, PL), Michael Gahler (EPP, DE) and Rebecca Harms (Greens, DE), key MEPs working on Ukraine, stated:

“The EU-Ukraine Association Council of 8 December 2017 took place at the end of a successful year for EU-Ukraine relations, starting with the entry into force of the visa-free regime and the full application of the Association Agreement.

 

We welcome the fact that the Association Council discussed ways ahead for the bilateral relations, including Ukraine’s proposal for preparation of steps towards its further integration with the EU Energy Union and Digital Single Market, and for a Customs Union, as well as the strengthening of cooperation in fields such as security and energy. We furthermore fully agree with the proposal to engage the three associated countries (Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova) in joint discussions concerning the association-related reforms. In this field, it is important on our view to start by focusing on strengthening the institutional mechanisms ensuring a smooth implementation of the Association Agreements, in particular concerning the cooperation between executive and legislative, and within the parliaments.

 

Against the background of the potential fruitful further developments in the EU-Ukraine relations, it is of crucial importance to have the full commitment of the Ukrainian authorities regarding the continuation of the ambitious reform agenda in line with European standards. In this respect, we would like to express our deep concerns regarding the recent developments in the field of anti-corruption, in particular the unprecedented attacks against the anti-corruption agencies (especially the National Anti-Corruption Bureau - NABU), and the dismissal of the head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Preventing and Countering corruption. Anti-corruption institutions and activists, instead of being harassed by the authorities, should on the contrary be given autonomy, space and resources to work efficiently and at last free the country from the plague of corruption. Likewise, the judicial system should be free from any political interference and all judicial proceedings carried out in line with international standards.

 

We reiterate our willingness to continue working hand in hand with our Ukrainian partners, especially our counterparts in the Verkhovna Rada, in order not to derail the achievements of the past few years but on the contrary even accelerate the speed of reforms. Regarding the education law and in particular its provisions on the use of languages, we welcome the balanced and constructive opinion issued yesterday by the Venice Commission and expect the Ukrainian authorities to fully implement the opinion’s recommendations.”