The leaders of the European Union and Ukraine met in Kiev today for the EU-Ukraine Summit, the first such meeting since the election of President Yushchenko. Leaders welcomed the fact that commitment to democracy and reform had opened new prospects for Ukraine and EU-Ukraine relations.

Leaders welcomed that EU-Ukraine relations were now deeper and stronger as a result of the significant progress achieved in implementation of the EU-Ukraine Action Plan, signed by the two parties on 21 February 2005. The EU welcomed Ukraine’s firm commitment to shared values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights; and recognised the progress made in promoting economic reforms. Leaders also stressed the need to continue the reform process.

EU leaders expressed confidence that the March 2006 parliamentary elections would be conducted in accordance with international standards and welcomed the Ukrainian President’s invitation to OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe to send an observation mission. EU leaders confirmed their commitment to initiate early consultations on a new enhanced agreement between EU and Ukraine to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, as soon as the political priorities of the Action Plan have been addressed.

Leaders welcomed the increasingly close co-operation in the area of foreign and security policy, in particular as regards issues of regional stability and crisis management. They noted with satisfaction the alignment of Ukraine with EU positions on regional and international issues, as well as the signature of two agreements this year – on co-operation in EU-led Crisis Management Operations and on procedures for the Exchange of Classified Information. Leaders also noted the recent adoption of an EU decision to support Ukraine’s efforts to destroy its stockpiles of Small Arms and Light Weapons and their ammunition. EU leaders welcomed the ratification by the Ukrainian parliament on 16 November of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement with the IAEA for the application of safeguards in connection with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

EU leaders welcomed the active and constructive role of Ukraine, and of President Yushchenko in particular, in helping to reopen the negotiation process aimed at the settlement of the Transnistria conflict. In the context of intensified joint efforts to solve this conflict, leaders also welcomed the launch on 30 November of the EU Border Mission on the border between Ukraine and Moldova, including on the Transnistrian segment. Leaders confirmed their commitment and full support for the operation of the Border Mission. Leaders also discussed relations with Russia and Belarus.

Ukraine and the EU welcomed the launch of visa facilitation agreement negotiations back to back with negotiations on a readmission agreement. The parties noted the progress made in the negotiations. EU leaders welcomed the decision by the Ukrainian government to continue visa-free travel for EU citizens, thereby contributing to the promotion of closer ties. Ukraine and the EU stressed the importance of strengthening people-to-people contacts. In this context, Ukraine underlined the importance of the introduction of a visa free regime between the EU and Ukraine as a long-term goal. EU leaders confirmed that substantial further funds would be available to Ukraine to support projects concerning migration management, under the AENEAS Regulation. Ukraine and the EU noted the existing good bilateral co-operation on Justice and Home Affairs issues. They stressed the importance of reviewing the 2001 JHA Action Plan early next year, based on an expert mission.

On trade and economic relations, leaders welcomed the European Commission’s assessment that Ukraine has met the technical criteria for the granting of Market Economy Status (MES) for trade defence, and welcomed EU Member States’ support for the granting of MES to Ukraine on that basis. EU leaders reconfirmed the goal of promoting deep economic integration between the EU and Ukraine and, in order to achieve this, looked forward to an early start of negotiations of a Free Trade Area once Ukraine has joined the WTO. EU leaders noted good progress made on the feasibility study on a Free Trade Area between the EU and Ukraine. EU leaders underlined strong support for Ukraine’s early accession to the WTO, and stressed their commitment to continue to offer assistance in meeting the necessary requirements.

Leaders of the EU and Ukraine signed agreements on Civil Satellite Navigation (Galileo) and Aviation, and a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in the field of energy. On energy, they stressed the importance of rapid implementation of this memorandum aiming at a progressive integration of the Ukrainian energy market to the EU as well as enhancing energy security. On transport, leaders welcomed the preparations for the extension of the European Trans-European Network Transport corridors. Ukraine reiterated its strategic goal to be fully integrated into the EU. EU leaders welcomed Ukraine’s European choice, stressing that Ukraine’s commitment to democracy and reform opens new prospects for a considerable enhancement of the level and quality of EU-Ukraine relations.

The Summit was hosted by Ukrainian President Viktor YUSHCHENKO. The European Delegation was led by Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Tony BLAIR MP, in his capacity as President of the European Council, assisted by the Secretary-General/High Representative, Dr Javier SOLANA; and by the President of the Commission, Mr José Manuel DURAO BARROSO. The President of the Commission was accompanied by Commissioners, Dr Benita FERRERO-WALDNER and Mr Peter MANDELSON. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mr Yuri YEKHANUROV and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Boris TARASYUK also participated in the event.

Ref: 15222/05 (Presse 337)