Full text 
Procedure : 2007/2015(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0217/2007

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 12/07/2007 - 3
CRE 12/07/2007 - 3

Votes :

PV 12/07/2007 - 6.15
CRE 12/07/2007 - 6.15
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Thursday, 12 July 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

3. Negotiation mandate: enhanced EC-Ukraine agreement (debate)

  President. The first item is the debate on the report by Michał Tomasz Kamiński, on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, with a proposal for a recommendation from the European Parliament to the Council on the negotiation mandate for a new enhanced agreement between the European Community and its Member States of the one part and Ukraine of the other part (2007/2015(INI)) (A6-0217/2007).


  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (UEN), rapporteur. (PL) Mr President, the report we are discussing and on which we will be voting today concerns the agreement on enhanced cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine. I do not want to repeat the contents of this report. In my speech, I would like to focus on the broader context within which this report should be considered.

First of all, the report contains a realistic assessment of the situation in Ukraine and, thus, on the one hand, it acknowledges that we should appreciate the huge effort made by the Ukrainian people and the state along the path to full democracy, a market economy and respect for human rights. It should be added that, during the dozen or so years of independence, Ukraine has made a great deal of progress in terms of creating a modern European Society.

Today, Ukraine is a tolerant, free, democratic country. It is, ultimately, a country where the majority of people support integration with the European Union, as all opinion polls reflect. As we have revealed everything in the report, it should also be stressed that Ukraine does face certain problems. We call on the Ukrainian Government to deal with these issues. The problems are related to, amongst others, the free and proper functioning of foreign companies, including European Union companies, in Ukraine. There are cases of criminal activity. The Ukrainian Government has declared that it will try to combat crime and we should applaud this move.

I would also like to stress that in the course of our work on the report, colleagues from all groups interested in Ukraine’s troubles showed a great deal of solidarity. I would like to thank, amongst others, Mr Siwiec from the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, who is with us today. As the vice-president of the European Parliament and responsible for relations with Ukraine, he has helped me a great deal.

From the outset, I wanted this report to be a document which would unite, rather than divide, this House. I wanted it to be a document on which we would try to reach a consensus. Today, it seems worthwhile for the European Parliament, which is an institution that Ukrainians pay attention to, to send a signal which would show the Ukrainian people that the European Parliament does not want to close its doors to Ukrainians, although, at the same time, it does assess Ukrainian membership in realistic terms, namely as something that will not happen in the nearest future.

This great nation is a European nation and anyone who has been to Ukraine can easily see how much of Europe's cultural heritage can be found there. It is enough to see Kiev as the cradle of a very important Christian denomination in Eastern Europe in order to realise that Ukrainians, and the Ukrainian state, fully deserve to be described as a European nation and that we, as the European Parliament, as the European Union, should treat this country with friendship and respect.

I hope that, as I have pointed out, the report will be treated by this House as a compromise document, a document reflecting the good will of our institution, the European Parliament, towards the Ukrainian people.


  Janez Potočnik, Member of the Commission. Mr President, Members of the European Parliament, on behalf of my colleague, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, who I am replacing today, I welcome this opportunity to discuss relations between the European Union and the Ukraine based on the very good report by Mr Kamiński.

This report is a balanced political document which contains clear messages. As you know, the situation in Ukraine remains difficult. It is crucial that the agreement of 27 May between President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych to hold early elections on 30 September is fulfilled. The main players have to stabilise the country’s political situation, and they must establish a viable constitutional system. Only in this way can they create the conditions for the country to move forward with political and economic reforms, based on respect for the principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the market economy.

In relation to the elections, it is paramount to ensure they are conducted in a democratic manner in accordance with international standards. We have been in regular contact with the various political sides in Ukraine to pass on these messages. We regularly continue to do so. For instance, my colleague Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner met Prime Minister Yanukovych at the Cooperation Council on 18 June, and she will meet Foreign Minister Yatsenyuk next week. The EU-Ukraine Summit on 14 September in Kiev, just two weeks before the elections, will be a key event to reaffirm these messages at the highest level.

We strongly welcome the fact that the report by Mr Kamiński emphasises these crucial messages. This document, along with the recent visit of a European Parliament delegation to Ukraine, led by Mr Severin, the chairman of the Parliament’s delegation for relations with Ukraine, is a valuable contribution towards ensuring stabilisation of the situation in Ukraine and emphasising the importance of constitutional reform. Close coordination between the European Parliament and the Commission on these steps is particularly welcome.

As regards the new enhanced agreement, the political crisis has not had a detrimental effect on the negotiations for the time being. Both political sides in Ukraine attach high importance to the negotiations, four rounds of which have already taken place. The last round took place only last week, on 2 to 4 July in Kiev, and good progress has been achieved on political, justice-related, freedom and security-related and other sectoral aspects of the agreement.

The Ukrainian side, for whom the European perspective is a key concern, is emphasising its objective of ‘political association and economic integration’ in these negotiations. The Summit on 14 September will be an important occasion to assess the overall status of negotiations and provide political momentum for further progress. As it is pointed out in Mr Kamiński’s report, negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area, which will be a core element of the new enhanced agreement, will start as soon as Ukraine’s WTO accession process is finalised. There are still some outstanding issues to discuss, not only with the European Union, but also with other parties, but with some goodwill on the Ukrainian side, their efforts should come to fruition during the course of this year.

In conclusion, we very much welcome this report and the key messages it sends to the Ukrainian side. On the main issue you raise, i.e. the EU response to Ukraine’s European aspirations, our position is clear: our aim in the negotiations is to bring Ukraine as close as possible to the European Union in as many areas as possible, while not prejudging any possible future developments in EU-Ukraine relations.


  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – Mr President, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group I warmly welcome the Kamiński report. Ukraine, as well as being the EU’s immediate strategic neighbour, is our vital trading partner in energy matters. Right now, it is in the middle of a constitutional crisis in terms of divisions of power between the President and Parliament, and between the Ukrainian-speaking western and central regions, mainly supporting President Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, and the south and east, which are Russian speaking and mainly support Prime Minister Yanukovych.

Resolving this will be a test of the maturity of Ukrainian democracy and a challenge to the enduring legacy of the Orange Revolution and the rule of law, but so far, to Ukraine’s great credit, no violence has erupted. Sadly, the Constitutional Court has failed, as a result of undue politicisation, to resolve the dispute over the presidential powers to dissolve the Rada. The current cross-party agreement for fresh elections to the Rada due for 30 September may clear the air, or at least confirm that all major players are essentially for the continuing unity of the nation and in favour of imminent WTO membership, as well as a much deeper economic relationship with the European Union.

The Kamiński report supports these objectives and goes further by keeping the possibility of EU membership open for the longer term. For now, the EU is rightly building on the 2005 ENP action plan and following on from the recent visa facilitation and readmission agreement aiming to develop with Ukraine a deep free-trade agreement, possibly in the form of an association agreement to replace the outdated PCA post-Soviet model.

I now call on the EU to boost ENPI financial assistance to Ukraine, and on Ukraine to redouble its efforts to combat corruption in public life, to strengthen judicial independence, whilst demonstrating at the same time its firm commitment to getting closer to the European Union by working towards approximating its laws with the European Union’s acquis communautaire.


  Marek Siwiec, on behalf of the PSE Group. (PL) Mr President, the report everyone is applauding appeared as a result of reflection on what Ukraine is and what it means to Europe. The European Parliament began to reflect on these matters almost three years ago, well before there was ever any talk of the Orange Revolution.

We have reached a point where we want to put pen to paper and to draw up a plan. We want to call it an agreement, perhaps an association agreement, which would bring Ukraine closer to the European Union. As the Commissioner said, we should bring Ukraine as close as possible. “As close as possible” – this may even be no distance at all. In other words, it may involve future membership of the European Union. We should not be afraid to mention this. We should not be afraid to state that such a prospect exists. Let us also tell Ukrainians about it. This report, which is the first official European Union document on the subject, contains such a statement.

In order for these plans to become reality, Ukraine faces a mammoth task and needs a sense of responsibility and duty towards its own citizens. These reforms will be difficult and painful. We want to help with these reforms. The European Union, Ukraine’s membership of the Union and its European aspirations should become a rallying point rather than a cause of dispute.

Ukrainian political parties taking part in the elections need to clearly tell the Ukrainian people that they support European Union membership, and that, instead of arguing, they will work towards this objective.

I feel comfortable enough to say these words because the European Union, through the consensus reached at the last summit, has clearly shown that it is open to further enlargement. The European Union has shown that it wants to apply the enlargement procedure in a sensible and considered manner that is beneficial to both the Member States, candidate countries and countries which intend to apply for European Union membership in the future.

I encourage you to adopt this report without additional amendments. I hope that it will send an important signal to Ukraine and to the people of the European Union. I hope that we can view the future of Ukraine not in terms of threats and with fear, but in terms of the great opportunities and challenges that face both Europeans and Ukrainians.


  István Szent-Iványi, on behalf of the ALDE Group. (HU) At the end of 2004, it was with great joy and hope that we welcomed the news that Ukraine opted for European values and democracy. Since then, experience has shown that strengthening the rule of law, democracy and the free market is not an easy process, and Ukraine must be very careful to safeguard the results achieved, for these are still fragile.

It is precisely for this reason that we strongly approve of what Mr Kamiński’s report has also stated, namely that the European Union does not turn its back on Ukraine in this difficult period, but offers even stronger cooperation. For our part, it is fundamentally in our interest that Ukraine be an independent country oriented towards Europe. It is in our interest for the country to be a solid democracy that rests on the rule of law and for it to have a functioning market economy. It is to this end that we wish to offer assistance by means of the agreement.

Ukraine must see that it too has obligations and tasks to perform, and that this agreement makes sense only if Ukraine is able to master the difficulties and is capable of facing the problems. It is our opinion that the relations between the European Union and Ukraine should not take the form of a partnership, but rather the form of an association agreement. We hope that in subsequent stages such an association agreement will replace this partnership one.

Later it would be important for the Free Trade Area between Ukraine and Europe to be expanded, since economic ties are growing ever larger and closer. We consider it important that in the course of reviewing the neighbourhood policy instrument, the support guaranteed to Ukraine be increased. Thus we deem it essential that after the review period, and even now, the major part of this support be devoted to the construction of civil society, that is, to strengthening the independent media, since there is unfailing need for this in Ukraine.

Ukraine also has work to do in the area of the market economy. The untransparent system of state aids need to be transformed, and greater protection given to intellectual property and foreign investments, for there are a great many problems in this area.

We gladly welcome the agreement on visa facilitation, which we have signed, but we consider this only the first step. We believe that this can truly bring Ukraine and Europe closer together. In this spirit, we support Mr Kamiński’s broad, consensus-based report.


  Adam Bielan, on behalf of the UEN Group. – (PL) Mr President, on behalf of the Union for Europe of the Nations Group, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the author of the report we are discussing, our brilliant colleague Michał Kamiński, for drawing up this incredibly important document.

Today’s report is very significant, as it calls on the Council to present Ukraine with clear European prospects, so that the new enhanced agreement will provide the right framework for integrating Ukraine with the Union and, in the future, open the way for its full membership of the European Union.

As Mr Marek Siwiec from the Socialist Group in the European Parliament already noted, this is, in principle, the first official document of the European Union which mentions full membership.

We are discussing this report at a moment which is very important for Ukraine. In just over two months, parliamentary elections will take place there. We have to admit that our failure to send a clear signal to Kiev could be used by those who oppose reform and the pro-Western attitude of Ukraine.

Mr Kaminski’s report sends precisely such a signal and is another pro-Ukrainian voice in Parliament. I am sure that the adoption of today’s report will further strengthen the European Union’s relations with Ukraine.

We sometimes hear sceptical voices in Ukraine, who claim that their country has no choice and can only move eastwards because the West does not want it. I hope that today’s vote will show that these politicians are wrong. Ukraine must be given priority status, if only because of the key role it plays in ensuring the stability and energy security of the European Union. This is particularly important at this time, when we need to support the decision on changing the direction of the Odessa-Brody pipeline and activities to extend it to the European Union.

I would like to remind you that a significant example of the faith we are placing in Ukraine as a valuable member of the European democratic community is the UEFA decision to allow Poland and Ukraine to co-host the European Football Championships in 2012.

Finally, I would like to highlight the fact that Ukraine forms part of Europe through its historical connections with its neighbours. Since gaining independence, Ukraine has chosen a democratic path for the development of its state. All European countries share this trait. I hope that Parliament will confirm today that the choice Ukraine made was the right one.


  Rebecca Harms, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Mr President, I would like to thank the rapporteur for his report. Before delivering my speech today, which will be highly critical of the political system in Ukraine, let me say this: a glance at the map or a history book provides clear evidence that Ukraine is a European country and that, in actual fact, the question of its membership of the European Union can only be linked to the progress being made with the democratic reforms in Ukraine. The fact that Ukraine is a part of Europe should go without saying for every one of us.

After many visits, both before and after the Orange Revolution, I have to say that the political system, or rather the system of political elites in Ukraine, is in an absolutely deplorable state. The party blocs, without exception, have been utterly discredited. The reputation of the core institutions, the reputation of the presidency and that of Parliament have suffered greatly from the fact that, over the last two years, the public interest has effectively become immaterial within those institutions, which have focused their entire attention on the interests of the elite groups that have now commandeered them. This has left a power vacuum in Ukraine.

There are reports, for example, of a second wave of enrichment taking place in the shadows of the altercations in Parliament. That has got to change. After the elections we must employ our best efforts to ensure that the path to genuine democratic compromises between the blocs is pursued, because there will be another stalemate. Action must be taken to thwart the attempt to introduce a sort of tyranny of the majority in Ukraine.

There are nevertheless hopeful signs too. I think it is a very good thing that the people of Ukraine are taking this whole conflict calmly and that they no longer run the risk of being driven to violent action. I hope this remains the case, and I believe the situation will become more stable if we continue to present the Ukrainians with an honest appraisal of their membership prospects. In this respect I am very pleased with the signals regarding an association agreement and with the present report.


  Jiří Maštálka, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – (CS) I too would like to thank the rapporteur for the outstanding piece of work he has produced. We have in the meantime all agreed in our debate that Ukraine, as one of our neighbours, should be a stable, democratic and developing state. I feel that the report rather lost sight of three points which I would like to focus on. The first point is that we should push for stabilisation in the socio-economic sphere, especially regarding the health situation in Ukraine. I am not sure that we are sufficiently aware of the seriousness of the fact that, due to the weakness of its economy, Ukraine has experienced increased levels of very dangerous diseases, and especially infectious diseases. These diseases also present a threat to other countries, and especially the countries of the European Union, due to high levels of migration. I consider it very important for us to step up our assistance to Ukraine in the area of health in the immediate future.

The second point concerns Ukraine’s neighbours, Moldova and Belarus. The EU has put a lot of political effort as well as financial resources into resolving the situation in the Transnistria region. I feel we should pay more attention to how these financial and human resources are being put to use on the Ukrainian side towards a positive solution to the situation in Transnistria, especially as regards controlling the black market and other problem issues in this border area where Ukraine has great potential for intervening in a positive way.

Concerning Belarus I feel particularly that we should focus on getting Ukraine to cooperate more as regards addressing the impact of the Chernobyl disaster, and also to cooperate more with Belarus on resolving immigration issues, as it is clear that Ukraine has become a major conduit for illegal immigrants coming into the EU. I feel that our common wish should be for the forthcoming elections in Ukraine to be free of external interference, to be truly democratic and to show that Ukraine is a good and stable partner for the European Union.


  Bastiaan Belder, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. (NL) Mr President, I would ask of the apparently absent Portuguese Presidency one thing, and one thing only: clarity about the boundaries of the European Union. In my view, Ukraine clearly falls within these. Needless to say, such an open message from Brussels to Kiev requires a helping hand from Europe in the shape of commitment, something which is clearly present in Kiev, as I learnt during a delegation visit in late May. This visit constituted an informative and inspiring European–Ukrainian initiative, on which I should like to congratulate the Commission. Ukraine is equally helped on its way to Europe by the solid report by Mr Kamiński, which I will be happy to support, because it informs the Ukrainian state and administrative institutions quite clearly of the European reform requirements.

It is a huge responsibility on the part of the current Ukrainian political elite to rid itself of the evil, self-interested stench, both tangible and intangible. This self-cleansing process will give the national cause the indispensable public support it needs to join the European Union. The European institutions must make a concrete contribution to this beckoning European perspective for Ukraine, particularly during this exciting, yet polarising, election time. The Kamiński report sets the right example. It points Ukraine, which, undoubtedly, has a long way to go yet, in the direction of Europe in a very clear and concise manner. Let us make sure that country’s journey is smooth, and also join it on its journey.


  Jana Bobošíková (NI). – (CS) Ladies and gentlemen, I fully endorse the report by Mr Kamińsky, which describes the situation just as it has been observed recently by myself and other members of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in meetings with the Ukrainian parliament, the government and President Yushchenko. The report also describes the Union’s hitherto uncertain position regarding Ukraine. Following our support for the Orange Revolution in December 2005 and the welcome given to President Yushchenko in this Parliament, we should have gone further. We should have said clearly that we do not just support Ukraine but we stand shoulder to shoulder with it as well. Despite all of the problems that our eastern neighbour is encountering, I firmly believe that Ukraine can become a member of the European Union in the foreseeable future. Not only does it have strong historical, cultural and economic ties with the Member States, but it also plays a key role in providing energy security for this area.

Just like the rapporteur, I support an agreement between the European Union and Ukraine that sets out specific terms and conditions as well as a timetable for the development of relations and for reforms leading to the integration of Ukraine into the Union. I am also in favour of increasing financial assistance to Ukraine, while continuing our calls for the thorough implementation of reforms, for the tackling of corruption and for the creation of a stable, reliable and predictable investment environment. I hope that the new Member States in particular will take part in this process, as they share with Ukraine not just linguistic and geographical proximity, but also a totalitarian past and a reformist present.


  Elmar Brok (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, one need only look at the map to realise that Ukraine is one of the most important countries for us in strategic terms. This is why we are bound to have a great interest in ensuring that Ukraine follows a democratic course, based on the rule of law, and enjoys economic success, because these are the best signs that a country is on the right path.

At the same time, it also has to be said that Ukraine, as an independent nation, is free to chart its own course and that no one – not even a large neighbour – has any right to exert influence. The age of spheres of influence is past, and every country in Europe can take free decisions. That is why it is important that Ukraine is being offered this enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement, which will significantly increase Ukraine’s scope for free decision-making.

I see this agreement in the context of accession to the WTO, of a future free-trade area, of the continuing development of the European neighbourhood policy and of the possibility of an extended European Economic Area, or whatever we called it here in Parliament. It is a matter of paving the way for a free Ukraine that is focused on Europe and is part of the Euro-Atlantic community.

How far that way leads will depend on the development of the European Union and on that of Ukraine. We all have our homework to do. But we should not make any false promises, with no one knowing whether we can keep them, for that will lead to disappointment. On the contrary, we must now implement this partnership and cooperation agreement so that the Ukrainian citizens realise, today and tomorrow and in the days to come, that progress is being made and that people benefit from living in freedom and democracy under the rule of law in a country with a Western orientation. And it is here that we must help.

As Mrs Harms said, the political elite in Ukraine must also come to appreciate this, and an end must be put to all this tactical manoeuvring that is motivated by sheer personal vanity and achieves nothing.

I believe we have an obligation and must fulfil it and that we should not make any false promises but remain realistic, so that our statements possess credibility.


  Jan Marinus Wiersma (PSE). – (NL) Mr President, we too deem it important that the Commission be ambitious when it comes to concluding a new agreement with Ukraine. In this respect, far-reaching and continuing economic integration in particular, combined with the development of cooperation in as many other areas as possible, should, as we see it, be centre stage.

The message which the European Union should send out is that we would like to continue deepening our relations with Ukraine. If we want to do this properly, it is, of course, important that something be done within Ukraine as well because, ultimately, the key to successful cooperation lies with Kiev itself. This also means that we must bring pressure to bear with a view to redressing the political balance in that country. What we should actually work towards or help create is a kind of historic compromise between the east and west. If the political conflict in Ukraine is not resolved, I foresee major problems in the further development of cooperation with the European Union.

The text of the report is cautious where the longer term is concerned, but does not close the door completely. It is also extremely important that we send this message to Ukraine today, again under the caveat that the key lies with Kiev itself. It depends on that country’s reform capacity whether the request for membership will ever become an actual question. Whilst we should not slam the door today, we should remain realistic. What is important, as I have already mentioned, is for Ukraine to develop its own reform agenda, in which, above all, not only the fight against corruption and the creation of more transparent structures in that country are important, but also the phasing out of oligarchic structures.

I should like to finish off with two comments. I think that Ukraine can play a role as key country in that region. This is something we have to nurture and is also mentioned in Mr Kamiński’s report. If we look at the Black Sea region, which is racked with problems such as energy, trade and the fight against crime, and where cooperation between countries is called for with support from the European Union, then Ukraine can play a major role there.

Finally, something else that is also reflected well in the report is that Ukraine plays a key role in Europe’s energy supply where distribution and transit are concerned, but also when it comes to putting its own energy household in order. In fact, the Commission, and the European Union, can also play a major role in this.


  Grażyna Staniszewska (ALDE). – (PL) Mr President, the mandate we are discussing is, finally, a positive and constructive signal from the European Community which those seeking reform in Ukraine have long been waiting for.

Ukraine is a very young country, barely twenty years old. It is only beginning to learn how to function, to build and respect its own structures and institutions, and is learning the rules of democracy. Prior to that, for hundreds of years, Ukrainians were deprived of their own state and this country’s situation is utterly different to that of the Baltic states, which lost their statehood for a period of forty years.

The issue of which principles will be used to shape the young Ukrainian state is vitally important as Ukraine is the European Union’s biggest direct neighbour. The question arises as to who will be able to mobilise Ukrainians and to what ends. Will it be Russia, a non-democratic country with a corrupt economy which is used as a tool for exerting political influence, or a democratic and free European Union?

To date, the European Union has, at most, been indifferent to Ukraine’s European aspirations. Apart from its short-term, constructive involvement during the Orange Revolution, the statements of consecutive Commissioners have, so far, revealed the European Union to be indifferent and distant. The mandate we are debating is an opportunity to change this attitude. It creates long-term prospects of European Union membership, pledges more financial aid, following an interim assessment, the creation of a free trade zone and moves to make obtaining visas easier.

However, everything has its price. In exchange, the Community has made it clear that it expects Ukraine to continue along the path to democracy. Ukraine is expected to focus on building the institutions which are characteristic of a democratic country that is able to independently solve crises. The European Union expects Ukraine to reform and, first and foremost, to grant the judiciary independence from political influence so that the country finally has a fully independent constitutional court. It also wants Ukraine to separate politics from economics and to effectively fight corruption.

This is an enormous amount of work, which will be difficult for Ukrainians to complete and will involve many years of toil. However, I am convinced that Ukraine will only be able to meet these challenges if it has a clear, albeit distant, prospect of European integration.



  Gintaras Didžiokas (UEN). – (LT) First of all, I would like to thank and congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Kaminski, for preparing this, to my mind, very important and necessary report. Ukraine has played and will continue to play a very important role, not just in the economic but also in the geopolitical sense. The stability of Europe will depend on how and with whom Ukraine will evolve. It is enough to look at history to convince us of this. If Europe wishes to create real stability and security, it will have to pay due attention to Ukraine. Europe needs Ukraine, and Ukraine, without a doubt, needs Europe. We need to extend a hand to the people of Ukraine, we need to help them get over the fear instilled in them by Soviet and Russian propaganda, we need to do away with the remnants of the Cold War, and Ukraine needs to become a reliable, stable, safe and truly European country. We need more multi-faceted programs and more contacts for this; we need to send very clear signals to the people of Ukraine because there are forces at work scaring the people of Ukraine about Europe, sowing discord and tension. Europe needs to overcome this.


  Milan Horáček (Verts/ALE).(DE) Mr President, We approve the report on Ukraine. In some places, however, I would have preferred some even plainer language.

Ukraine is going through a phase of upheaval, even if the agreement reached by the conflicting parties on fresh elections at the end of September has helped to relax tension. There is no guarantee that a newly elected Verkhovna Rada will be the key to solving the political problems. Will there be more cooperation and mutual trust between the Blue and Orange camps?

On the way to urgently needed stability in Ukraine there are political and institutional hurdles that still have to be surmounted. A clear European perspective can create the necessary impetus towards democratisation and modernisation. The fact that Ukraine falls far short of compliance with international human-rights standards must be mentioned, as must the fact that corrupt structures, particularly in politics and the judiciary, along with the impenetrable web of collusion with business are obstructing a successful reform process.

The prospect of accession is very important and necessary, both to Ukraine and to the EU. The European ideal of creating a continent in which peace, democracy, prosperity and human rights prevail applies to all European countries, and we are addressing that clear message to Ukraine too.


  Jerzy Buzek (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on an excellent report. Three years after the Orange Revolution we have the right to be dissatisfied with the progress made in the fields of democracy, free market and the rule of law in Ukraine. However, those who themselves lived through the communist era in the second half of the twentieth century – and here in the European Union there are ten countries which have experience of this – know how difficult it is to free oneself, both psychologically and institutionally, from the oppressive and overpowering system of real socialism.

Let us remember that Ukraine now has a free and diverse media, which is always the most important guarantee of progress. I agree with most of the previous comments. If we all agree on this matter, why do we not dot our ‘i’s? Why do we not write clearly about Ukraine’s future membership of the European Union which, it goes without saying, lies in the distant future?

If we, the European Union, want to promote our system of values, namely democracy, the free market and the rule of law in eastern Europe, especially in Belarus, Russia or in the Caspian Sea basin, we must have a clear position concerning Ukraine. We have to be explicit about its future membership. If we fail to do this, we will lose the opportunity to create long-term, beneficial stability in eastern Europe.

Our proposals concerning Ukraine’s future membership of the European Union do not force Ukraine into anything. The decision will still be up to the Ukrainians. I particularly wanted to stress this point. Neither are these proposals false promises.

Today, we still have two specific tasks ahead of us. First of all, we should ensure, by means of diplomatic efforts, that the elections planned for 30 August do actually take place. Secondly, a significant, rather than a purely symbolic, group of observers should be sent to the elections. This is our duty and it is what all the Ukrainians I have spoken to have requested.


  Libor Rouček (PSE). – (CS) Allow me to begin by welcoming the Council’s decision to start negotiating a new treaty between the EU and Ukraine, aimed at extending political cooperation and achieving the gradual economic integration of Ukraine into the internal market of the EU. I share the rapporteur’s view that the fulfilment of these ambitious goals, which are important to both sides, will require the establishment of specific procedures, conditions and priorities. Among these priorities are entry to the WTO and the gradual creation of an integrated free trade zone, which should be based on a common regulatory basis and which in my view should include all trade in goods, services and capital. The second priority in the economic sphere should be to integrate Ukraine as quickly as possible into the European energy community.


  Janusz Onyszkiewicz (ALDE). – (PL) Mr President, today we are discussing the agreement between the European Union and the largest country in Europe, after Russia. Ukraine is, geographically speaking, the biggest country in Europe, and for thousands of years it has participated in and helped to shape European culture. For years it has been expressing its very clear aspirations to join the European Union, as it believes that the provisions of our Treaties, which state that any European country has the right to join the European Union, are more than just empty words.

The Ukraine is also very important to Europe. This point has been mentioned on a number of occasions in this House and also features in the draft report. If only because of energy issues, Ukraine should already form part of the European energy security system and actions such as the construction of the Odessa-Brody pipeline, Ukraine's involvement in the Nabokov pipeline project or incentives for action within the framework of GUAM are perfectly appropriate.

It has been mentioned here that Ukrainian political institutions are not mature enough for European Union membership. This may be true today, but I do not think that Ukraine's institutions and Ukrainian democracy are in a worse state than the situation we are dealing with in Turkey. We should also remember that, if we do not count the Baltic states, Ukraine is the most democratic of all the countries which emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is why we should give Ukraine the green light.


  Guntars Krasts (UEN). – (LV) Thank you, Mr President. First of all I would like to express my congratulations to the rapporteur, Mr Kamiński. The rapporteur’s deep personal interest in the development of events in Ukraine and in fostering relations between the European Union and Ukraine has certainly been beneficial for the formulation of Parliament’s position. Ukraine has always attracted the special attention of the European Union. It has an important geopolitical role, which stretches far beyond its borders. The European Union has a vital interest in a democratic and economically flourishing Ukraine. Setting out a perspective for Ukraine’s proposed goal of becoming a European Union Member State would be a significant contribution towards attaining these goals. This would constitute highly significant support for the development of democratic processes in Ukraine, would help internal political processes within the country to acquire stability, and would foster the process of uniting Ukraine’s society. The directions set out in the report, for reform in the country and tasks for improving democracy, the rule of law, entrepreneurial activity and investment to improve the environment, are important elements of support for Ukraine’s long-term stabilisation. Ever closer cooperation with the European Union will point the way for resolving these issues and will establish the pace of Ukraine’s progress towards integration with the European Union. Thank you.


  Michael Gahler (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, we Members of the European Parliament have emphasised on numerous occasions in plenary and in our committees how important our Ukrainian neighbour is to us. We followed the encouraging developments that resulted from the Orange Revolution with great sympathy and tried to nurture them wherever we could. We are continuing this effort today by approving the construction of an enhanced partnership between Ukraine and the EU.

Ukraine is undergoing what is potentially a highly promising transformation process. It is still far short, however, of the stage reached by our newer Member States in the EU. Ukraine itself can influence the pace of the process. We are prepared to assist it in its efforts.

I see the forthcoming parliamentary elections and the subsequent formation of a government in part as a litmus test of the country’s future orientation. If a European perspective is to be adopted, a political culture compatible with European standards must be developed. The elements that have rigged elections in the past and indulge today in shopping sprees in Parliament to buy missing votes must change their behaviour radically. The same applies, of course, to those who allow themselves to be bought.

All political forces are called upon to respect and protect the country’s institutions, their assigned powers and their integrity and not to use them as pawns and bargaining counters in the domestic political struggle. Only if that goal can be consistently achieved will people gain confidence in democracy as a form of government that is worth supporting.

Mrs Harms has already referred to the institutions, and I too am deeply concerned about the way in which the Ukrainian institutions are treated. I believe we in the European Union cannot begin to imagine the scale these practices have attained. That is why our report is peppered with detailed demands that we expect Ukraine to meet on its way to Europe. These expectations must be fulfilled.


  Adrian Severin (PSE). – Mr President, Ukraine is a rich country, a huge market, a dynamic society formed by a large number of citizens, an impressive source of natural richness and a major transit route for energy and basic goods. It is a great European culture and a large territory with a crucial geo-strategic position.

We must decide if we want Ukraine to be a mere buffer zone behind a parochial European Union hiding its structural weaknesses, or an advanced post of a strong, proud, democratic, political union at the contact-point – rather than at the demarcation line – between Europe and Eurasia, between Europe and Russia.

Most Ukrainians, irrespective of their political and ideological affiliation understand that only within relations with the European Union can their individual, social, national and international security be consolidated. We must tell them in response to their legitimate aspirations and in accordance with our fundamental interests that we are ready to share all our resources and policies with them once the legal, political, legislative, institutional and moral interoperability between Ukraine and the European Union are in place. We must also tell them that we are ready to consider the possibility of eventually even sharing our institutions with them under the appropriate circumstances and at the right time.

For these goals and expectations to be realistic, the European Union must bring its institutional reforms to a successful conclusion. At the same time, Ukraine must dramatically improve its democratic structures firstly with its check-and-balance mechanisms, separate policy from business, thus freeing public policies from oligarchic control, and bridge the cultural divides between its eastern and western territories.

The European Union must establish a clear relationship between the internal progress of Ukraine and its progress in acceding to the opportunities presented by the European Union. The document proposed to us is based on these ideas, therefore it is important to adopt it, thus passing on the right messages to all those concerned.


  Adina-Ioana Vălean (ALDE). – Mr President, I warmly welcome the progress made by Ukraine over the past few years to get closer to Europe and to our fundamental values. However, we should not disregard the serious problems that the country is facing: corruption is rampant, mutual distrust is strong and the judicial system is dysfunctional and totally discredited. In this context, we must encourage reforms, but Ukraine should also ensure that its declarations are followed by practical actions and that deeds follow words.

The proof of this is Ukraine’s attitude towards Romania and Bulgaria with regard to visa policy. Last month, the EU signed two agreements on visa facilitation and readmission with Ukraine. However, I recently learned that our privileged partner refuses to extend visa facilitation to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. This is totally unacceptable. Ukraine’s authorities may have forgotten that Romania and Bulgaria are now full members of the European Union and, as such, their citizens are entitled to equal treatment. This is a basic principle that Ukraine should take on board as soon as possible if it wants to be taken as a serious partner.

I therefore call on the Council and the Commission to commit to their undertaking not to ratify this agreement before Ukraine has lifted the visa obligation for the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria. Ukraine must understand that this should be resolved as a matter of urgency or it might wholly jeopardise its credibility. I hope we can expect positive developments for the next September summit.


  Andrzej Tomasz Zapałowski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, to a large extent, today’s debate deals with the future of Europe, namely whether it will be based on Christian traditions or whether it will lose its past and its future.

Ukraine is part of Europe. It shares European traditions, the values of our ancestors and its place is among us. I am surprised that the Middle East is more important to some Members. You can imagine Europe in Asia but fail to see a large part of our continent. Today, Ukraine is in the throes of political and economic crisis. That is why we now need to send it a clear signal that we want it to be on our side, that we want Ukrainian society to make the right political choice, in order to stabilise the situation in the eastern territories of the Union.

I would like to congratulate Mr Kamiński on his report. Its contents show a desire to strengthen Europe, a Europe of traditions and values, as well as the economic and geopolitical potential of an enlarged Community.


  Bogdan Klich (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, the European Union has certain responsibilities towards Ukraine. Two years ago, we played a significant part in supporting the Orange Revolution in Kiev. Back then, the aim was to bring democracy back to this country. Now, the aim is to consolidate it. In order for this to happen, Ukraine should have clear prospects for the future. We cannot say, as the Commissioner stated, that Ukraine should be as close to the European Union as possible. No. We need to be explicit. Ukraine needs, and I would like to stress this fact, the prospect of European Union membership.

In the meantime, we should support economic progress in Ukraine by signing an association agreement, an agreement on a free trade zone and support Ukraine’s membership of the WTO.

We should also be clear on another matter. The Union has its own agenda regarding Ukraine and we are fully entitled to expect Ukrainians to introduce European economic standards, to separate politics and the economy, to solve the current political crisis by democratic means and make sure that the upcoming elections are held lege artis.

We are also entitled to expect the current Ukrainian Parliament's inter-party team, which is dealing with adapting Ukrainian law to European Union standards, to be reactivated during the next Parliamentary term and to be a significant partner for us in the future.


  Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). – (LT) I congratulate the rapporteur, and I fully agree that the time is right for a new agreement between the EU and Ukraine. I am certain that Ukraine will not falter on the path to Europe. However, such floundering about as conflicts and tensions, which occurred this spring, do not advance Ukraine toward its destination. I would support the proposed EU-Black Sea Dimension initiative, the core axis of which would be Ukraine and Turkey attracting Russia and some other countries. The accrued experience of the Baltic Sea countries' cooperation and the Northern Dimension would be very helpful in this. There has been much discussion for a long while about changing the direction of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline and bringing it closer to the EU, but now it is time to actually do the work. I support the suggested amendment, which underlines the fact that the success of Ukraine's integration into EU institutions will depend on reforms not only in Ukraine, but in the EU itself. Whether they intended it or not, the machinations of Poland, the United Kingdom and some other countries concerning a reform agreement with Ukraine have acted against Ukraine's interests in its goal of an unwavering approach to the EU.


  Roberta Alma Anastase (PPE-DE). – Relaţiile dintre Uniunea Europeană şi Ucraina se află în prezent în pragul unor decizii cruciale pentru viitorul lor. Odată cu aderarea României la Uniunea Europeană, frontiera comună cu Ucraina s-a extins, ambele părţi devenind tot mai conştiente de avantajele şi oportunităţile unor relaţii aprofundate şi consolidate. Îi mulţumesc, în acest sens, domnului raportor pentru examinarea tuturor elementelor cheie în această direcţie.

Aş dori să atrag atenţia că o relaţie aprofundată şi mutual avantajoasă presupune responsabilitate crescândă şi angajament ferm din partea ambelor părţi. Îmi exprim astfel speranţa că Ucraina îşi va continua eforturile de conformare la standardele şi valorile europene atât pe plan intern, cât şi pe plan internaţional.

Pe plan intern, stabilitatea politică şi consolidarea principiilor democratice constituie o prioritate. Printre ele, respectarea drepturilor omului şi libertăţilor fundamentale, mai ales a minorităţilor şi a drepturilor acestora de a-şi vorbi limba şi de a-şi promova cultura, trebuie să stea la baza eforturilor Ucrainei de a deveni o societate multiculturală democratică, partener credibil al Uniunii Europene. Pentru a nu vorbi la modul general, doresc să atrag atenţia asupra încălcării drepturilor minorităţii române din Ucraina. Dreptul la educaţie în ţară şi în străinătate, dreptul la cultură şi religie sunt grav încălcate de către statul ucrainean care, în acelaşi timp, depune eforturi susţinute de divizare a acestei minorităţi în minoritatea română şi moldovenească, fără nicio raţiune istorică sau ştiinţifică.

Nu mai puţin importantă este acţiunea Ucrainei la nivel regional şi internaţional, în conformitate cu obligaţiile asumate. Ucraina şi-a demonstrat deja capacitatea de a fi un partener credibil şi eficient prin eforturile de pregătire pentru aderarea la Organizaţia Mondială a Comerţului, precum şi prin cooperarea cu Uniunea Europeană şi Moldova în cadrul Misiunii Uniunii Europene de asistenţă la frontieră.

Noua iniţiativă a Uniunii Europene de consolidare a cooperării regionale la Marea Neagră va fi, în sfârşit, o nouă şansă pentru toţi actorii din regiune pentru a-şi uni eforturile în crearea unui spaţiu de democraţie, stabilitate şi prosperitate în zona Mării Negre.


  Marianne Mikko (PSE). – (ET) As the leader of the Moldova delegation, I would like to emphasise Ukraine’s role as the preserver of stability in the European Union. The frozen conflict in Trans-Dnistria is a relic of the Cold War in Europe. The separatist regime is kept in power by revenues from smuggling, as well as by Russian forces.

Ukraine’s readiness to cooperate with the European Union’s border assistance mission has helped bring us closer to securing the departure of illegal governments, by reducing the Trans-Dnistrian regime’s budget revenues by one third.

I support granting the Council the authority to conclude a new and expanded agreement. Although the situation is far from ideal, Ukraine has nonetheless made advances in respecting human rights and in extending the rule of law. The conflict between the President and the Prime Minister will be resolved in Kiev within a democratic framework, as befits a country aspiring to join Europe.

In order to become a serious candidate for membership of the European Union, Ukraine must strengthen its civil society, safeguard the freedom of the media, increase the independence of the judiciary and make democratic monitoring the norm.

May these objectives be important both for Ukraine and for all of us in the European Union who communicate with Ukraine. I would like to thank Mr Kamiński for a constructive report.


  Anna Ibrisagic (PPE-DE). – (SV) A lot has happened since the Orange Revolution, in both Ukraine and the EU. The report that we are debating today describes what has happened in Ukraine and the problems and challenges that the country faces and that it has been presented with, as well as the work that still has to be done and the reforms that still have to be implemented. As with most of our debates on the EU’s relations with various countries, we are describing the situation in Ukraine and making demands and issuing exhortations.

Too rarely do we reflect, however, on the fact that the EU has changed over time. In the less than three years that I have been a Member of the European Parliament, Europe has already become less open, cooperative and generous and more chilly and introverted. We think too often about what things cost and too rarely about what they mean for ourselves and for the Europe of our children. That applies in particular when we begin to talk about a country’s prospects in relation to the EU or the possibility of future membership. I am therefore pleased that this report supports Ukraine’s desire and ambitions to draw closer to the EU and one day also to be reunited with the rest of Europe.

I consciously use the word ‘reunification’ instead of ‘enlargement’ because Ukraine, just like the rest of Eastern Europe, is, and always has been, a part of Europe. It is just that, for several decades, these countries had been kidnapped by Communism. It is time that we now corrected this mistake, and in the case of Ukraine the best way of doing that is to support this report, support the further development of relations between Ukraine and the EU and give Ukraine clear prospects in relation to the EU – prospects that obviously should not exclude membership once all the conditions for membership have been complied with.




  Francisco Assis (PSE). – (PT) Madam President, for someone like me, who comes from the far western edge of the continent, I cannot fail to manifest a deep respect for a people whose destiny has so often been tragic, in particular throughout the twentieth century, and who are now making a tremendous effort to find their way to becoming a democratic state based upon the rule of law.

This was demonstrated on the streets of Kiev three years ago and continues to be apparent from the Ukrainian people’s desire one day to join the European Union. We must look upon this desire with respect, and give signals, which include both strengthening our cooperation with the Ukraine and supporting the Ukraine’s development on the widest possible range of levels.

It is true that it is not our job to take over tasks that are the responsibility of the Ukrainians: the solidification of their democracy, the full institutionalisation of their democratic rule of law, and the overcoming of the problems they are still facing. Yet whilst it is true that this is a task for the Ukrainians, we must send signals and I am convinced that we are sending the Ukraine a good political signal through this report. For this reason, I congratulate the rapporteur.


  Bogusław Sonik (PPE-DE). – (PL) Madam President, the prerequisite for political success is, first and foremost, having clear aims and working consistently to fulfil them. Consistency is particularly important in the case of the complicated political system of the European Union.

In the case of Ukraine, a region of great political, economic and strategic significance, the European Union has to show steely determination in terms of implementing its existing aims. The European Union assisted Ukraine at a key moment in its history, during the Orange Revolution, when decisions were made concerning the path that that country would follow, namely towards the East or the West, towards the European Union or Russia. We made the right decision and consistent implementation is now necessary.

The situation is considerably less dramatic now. However, the European Union needs to take decisive action aimed at integrating Ukraine into the Union’s structures. Acting on the principles of partnership and solidarity, the European Union should support the young Ukrainian democracy and protect it from internal threats. Further integration into the structures of the European Union requires Ukraine to make more of an effort, including in fields such as fighting corruption and modernising the Ukrainian legal system and infrastructure. Without our help, Ukraine will not be able to achieve European Union standards in the fields of democracy and the free market, and will not succeed creating a state based on the rule of law or separating politics from economics.

It saddens me to see that Ukraine is not a priority for the Portuguese presidency. Ukraine is mentioned in the document we have received, but it is a shame that, unlike Brazil, there is no separate chapter dedicated to it. Ukraine is the largest European country which remains outside the European Union. We need to provide it with long-term prospects of European Union membership, as we have done with Turkey.

I would also like to say something more about European hypocrisy. Supporters of the constitutional treaty criticised the Treaty of Nice. One of their main criticisms was that it could not provide the basis for enlarging the European Union. Let them, then, be consistent and stress in the same way that reforming the treaty will allow us to make a historic decision regarding Ukraine’s future membership of the European Union.


  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (PSE). – Ucraina se află la intersecţia marilor axe rutiere, feroviare şi de transport de hidrocarburi. Dispunând de cea mai mare densitate de gazoducte şi oleoducte din Europa, Ucraina este un actor important pentru securitatea energetică a Uniunii Europene. Referitor la energia nucleară, Ucraina trebuie să facă dovada securităţii reactoarelor nucleare aflate pe teritoriul său.

În 2007, Grupul de nivel înalt a decis ca axa centrală prin care se va face integrarea sistemului comunitar de transport cu cele ale statelor vecine va asigura conectarea cu Ucraina şi Marea Neagră. Această axă include şi o conexiune prin Ucraina cu calea ferată transsiberiană şi utilizând fluviile Don şi Volga, o cale navigabilă internă către Marea Caspică.

Uniunea Europeană trebuie să fructifice ieşirea la Marea Neagră a României şi Bulgariei. Pentru România, Acordul consolidat este extrem de important şi solicităm asigurări că dezvoltarea infrastructurii de transport fluvial din Ucraina se va face cu protejarea biodiversităţii Deltei Dunării.


  Zuzana Roithová (PPE-DE). – (CS) I warmly welcome the political angle of the report. It shows that Ukraine is not a threat but an opportunity for the EU. I know that Europe will not be whole until Ukraine becomes part of the European Union. We are united by a common history and hundreds of thousands of family ties. I am truly delighted that Ukraine is taking the path of democracy. I hope that the start of the accession process will not be hurried, as was the case with Turkey, when not all of the Copenhagen criteria were fulfilled, leading to the current disenchantment on both sides. I hope that also the opposition in Ukraine will declare clearly that EU membership is an important goal for the inhabitants of the eastern part of the country as well. This long-term goal requires a change in thinking on the part of millions of citizens, who must also agree with this goal. It would be easy to promise membership to Ukraine today, but the main thing is first to assist it in joining NATO and the WTO.


  Janez Potočnik, Member of the Commission. Mr President, I would like to make two comments, the first on the future of Ukraine and the second on financial assistance from the European Union. The wording used in the Kamiński report about the European Union perspective is clear and well balanced. There are many important steps ahead that we cannot ignore.

We are in an intensive phase of negotiations on the new enhanced agreement. Ukraine is in the final phase of WTO accession negotiations, which would also open the way for free trade area negotiations. We are talking about visa facilitation, where equal treatment with regard to the requirements of all EU citizens should be taken into account.

I know from my own experience that, while democratic reforms are more than necessary in Ukraine, it is far from an easy way ahead, so we have to work hard, we have to work together and we have to work with an open mind and open hearts. I also know from my own experience that clear messages of support and readiness to help on the difficult way ahead are of utmost importance for success. The report we are discussing today is sending exactly those signals and important messages about the future of Ukraine.

My second point concerns financial assistance to Ukraine. As you know, Ukraine is entering a new phase, the new European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), and almost EUR 500 million over the four-year period 2007-2010 will be granted to help Ukraine. If you compare the Tacis help from a few years ago, in 2002, to the figure now, in 2007, you will see that it has trebled over that five-year period.

However, it is not only a question of technical assistance. Now we are upgrading that help and focusing on strengthening good governance, democratic development, regulatory and legal approximation, infrastructure, development, in particular in the field of energy, and modern management, including readmission-related issues. In addition, the extension of the EIB mandate to include Ukraine means that it will have also access to substantial funds in that area. We in the EU will certainly give financial assistance to help Ukraine access these funds.

I would like to thank you, the Members of the European Parliament, for your comments, which show your keen interest in one of our key neighbours. Mr Kamiński’s report and today’s debate are truly valuable contributions to the EU’s ongoing development of relations with the country. It is important that we work together to encourage Ukraine to continue firmly on the path of reform for their benefit and for their future.


  President. – The debate is closed.

The vote will take place today at 11.30 a.m.

Written statements (Rule 142)


  Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE-DE), in writing. – Ukraine is a country with acknowledged European traditions and a significant pawn in the development of a viable regional and intra-regional policy within the ENP.

Significant progress has been recently made in the EU-Ukraine relationship, such as the opening of negotiations for a new enhanced agreement and the recently signed agreements on visa facilitation and readmission.

The turmoil caused by recent events should not have repercussions in ensuring the continuation of a good relationship in the same framework of partnership in compliance with European democratic principles.

I believe Ukraine will eventually manage to get out of this current crisis.

To ensure that happens, the political class in Ukraine should act in line with the provisions of the 27 May agreement: hold the planned early parliamentary elections and amend the existing Constitution.

I welcome the signing of the Declaration of Unification of Democratic Forces and its stated goal to ensure a thriving European future for Ukraine and to see democratic forces firm in protecting their rights and dedicated to providing European social-economic standards in Ukraine.

Ukraine should see the Kamiński report as an incentive and a message of support from the Union.

I believe the future agreement should be an Association Agreement.

Last updated: 20 September 2007Legal notice