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Despite the war in the east and attempts from Russia to destabilise the country, Ukraine has made worthy reforms to continue its European path, say MEPs.

In a report adopted on Monday, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs take stock of the latest developments to do with the EU-Ukraine association agreement, which entered into force two years ago. They stress that notable reforms have been achieved by Ukraine in areas such as energy, health, pensions, education, public administration and decentralisation, and also when it comes to banking and macro-economic stabilisation.

MEPs praise Ukraine for good cooperation in the energy sector and its achievements in the area of energy efficiency, while pointing out the need to continue reforms, particularly in the gas and electricity market. Since the country plays a crucial role in the European energy supply network, MEPs condemn the construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, “as it is a political project posing a threat to European energy security”. They therefore call on its cancellation.

Continued efforts

The report underlines that Ukraine should make the fight against corruption a top priority, address the problems with oligarch power and continue the decentralisation reforms. MEPs regret that the existing judicial system still remains ineffective, corrupt and politically dependent, yet support the ongoing efforts to address this issue. Judges and prosecutors have to be selected in a transparent and highly reliable manner, says the text.

MEPs are also highly concerned about the violation of human rights in Ukraine, strongly condemning the rising number of physical attacks against civil rights activists and journalists and also violence towards members of the Roma and LGBTI communities. They further demand that the Russian Federation must immediately and unconditionally release the 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate Oleg Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

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EP rapporteur Michael Gahler (EPP, DE) said: "Ukraine has been making progress on the path towards European integration with important achievements in the first electoral period after the Revolution of Dignity. Since the signature of the Association Agreement in 2014, Ukraine has made more pro-European reforms than during all previous years of Ukrainian independence. But more effort is needed. The public support for modernisation and reform suffers. There is widespread disappointment at deteriorating social conditions, the continuing power of the oligarchs and the persistence of endemic corruption in state institutions."

Next steps

The report on Ukraine was adopted by 41 votes to 9, with 1 abstention. It will be voted on by the full House during the December plenary session in Strasbourg.