On February 2, Kyiv hosted a meeting of the European Commission, and on February 3 – EU-Ukraine Summit that gathered presidents of Ukraine, European Commission and European Council together with members of the government. Based on the results of the summit, a joint statement was issued reflecting positions and requirements of both sides, reported European Pravda. Also, EU leaders made important statements.
The EU confirmed its support of Ukraine’s joining the EU, provided details on the 7 criteria preceding the beginning of the membership negotiations, and also sent important messages on supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia and liberation of the entire Ukrainian territory.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, stated that the European Union would not stop supporting Ukraine despite the Kremlin’s threats and that Ukraine would become an EU member.
“This Summit has made two things absolutely clear. The first is a message for you and for the people of Ukraine. The European Union will support you in every way we can, for as long as it takes. We are not intimidated and will not be intimidated by the Kremlin. Because Ukraine and the EU we are family,” Michel said at the press conference. “And my second message: the future of Ukraine is within the European Union. Ukrainian people, you have made a clear choice for freedom, democracy, and rule of law. And we in the EU have also made a clear decision: your future is with us, in our common European Union, your destiny is our destiny.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the allocation of the first million euros under the Fast Recovery Plan to help rebuild war-torn Ukraine.
“Helping now to repair the damage that Putin’s bombs are doing to the energy infrastructure is one part. But rebuilding houses, roads, infrastructure, schools, hospitals is a daily job that needs to be done. That’s why it’s so important that we start Fast Recovery Ukraine immediately. Built into the larger recovery process. I am delighted that we can announce that the first billion Fast Recovery Ukraine will be made available…So work can begin immediately,” Ursula von der Leyen said at the press conference.
She also promised that the 10th package of sanctions against Russia worth a total of EUR 10 billion.
“Russia is paying a heavy price, as our sanctions are eroding its economy, throwing it back by a generation. By 24 February, exactly one year since the invasion started, we aim to have the tenth package of sanctions in place. The losses will amount to 10bn euros,” stated von der Leyen.
She added that the sanctions will focus on technologies that should not be used by the Russian war machine. “In other words, we are looking deeper at the components for equipment, such as drones, to make sure they won’t be available for Russia,” said the European Commission President.
One other result of the EU-Ukraine summit was Brussels’ agreement to provide Ukraine with intermediate assessment of fulfilment of the 7 criteria received with the status of the EU candidate.
Previously, the EU insisted that the assessment would be given to Ukraine in autumn 2023; this was stated by Ursula von der Leyen, when she explained that in spring, the commission would prepare only an “oral report for EU member countries”. However, without the official document from the EU with assessment of performance and description of problems, Ukraine won’t be able to “fix the mistakes” of performing the 7 recommendations. This, in turn, could prevent the membership negotiations from starting in 2023, while 2024 is the year when the European Commission’s composition changes.
Now, the decision of the summit in Kyiv solves this issue. The EU agreed to put the “oral assessment” on paper and officially hand it to Ukraine, explains European Pravda.
“We take note of the Commission’s intention to provide an update in spring 2023 which will also be conveyed to Ukraine through the appropriate channels,” reads the statement.
As for the seven recommendations, the EU said in the statement that attempts of Ukraine to go around the recommendation regarding the reform of the Constitutional court would not be successful; the same applies to the judicial reform. At that, the EU recognized progress of two other reforms: ensuring independent and effective operation of anti-corruption institutions, and bringing media law in Ukraine in compliance with EU law in relation to audio-visual media services.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke about waiting for the membership negotiations to start. “To start the negotiations in 2023 is our goal. Not even a goal, our target,” he stressed.
Notably, the statement contains a strong part on resisting Russia’s aggression. The EU supports liberation of all territories of Ukraine, including Crimea, and the peace formula of President Zelenskyy.
Joint statement following the 24th EU-Ukraine Summit
- We gathered today in the context of Russia’s ongoing unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. We condemned it in the strongest possible terms and discussed how to further support Ukraine and how to increase collective pressure on Russia to end its war and withdraw its troops. The EU will support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people against Russia’s ongoing war of aggression for as long as it takes. We highlighted the historical importance of the decision of the European Council of 23 June 2022 to recognise the European perspective of and grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine. We reiterated that the future of Ukraine and its citizens lies within the European Union.
We share common values of democracy, rule of law, respect for international law and human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, as well as gender equality. The EU reiterated its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
[Association Agreement and the accession process]
- We reiterated our commitment to further deepening our relationship, based on common values and close and privileged links. The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement has been and continues to be of essential importance in facilitating and promoting Ukraine’s further integration with the EU. The EU recalled the decision by the European Council to recognise Ukraine’s European perspective and grant to Ukraine the status of a candidate country. The EU reiterated its commitment to support Ukraine’s further European integration. The EU will decide on further steps once all conditions specified in the Commission’s opinion are fully met. Ukraine underlined its determination to meet the necessary requirements in order to start accession negotiations as soon as possible.
- The EU reiterated that the Commission has been invited to report on the fulfilment of the conditions specified in the Commission’s opinion on Ukraine’s membership application as part of its regular enlargement package in 2023. Without prejudice to this comprehensive regular reporting, we take note of the Commission’s intention to provide an update in spring 2023 which will also be conveyed to Ukraine through the appropriate channels.
- The EU acknowledged the considerable efforts that Ukraine demonstrated in the recent months towards meeting the objectives underpinning its candidate status for EU membership, welcomed Ukraine’s reform efforts in such difficult times, and encouraged the country to continue on this path and to fulfil the conditions specified in the Commission’s opinion on its membership application in order to advance towards future EU membership.
- We reaffirmed that comprehensive and consistent implementation of judicial reforms, in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission, including the reform of the Constitutional Court and the selection procedure of politically independent and qualified constitutional judges, remains vital for strengthening Ukraine’s resilience and for progress on the enlargement process. We acknowledged the role of the civilian EU Advisory Mission. We welcomed Ukraine’s increased alignment with the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and recalled our joint commitment to promote the principles enshrined in the Association Agreement, including Article 7(2). We welcomed progress in ensuring the independent and effective operation of the anti-corruption institutions and on alignment of Ukraine’s media legislation with the EU audio-visual media services acquis. The EU and Ukraine reiterated their commitment to fully respect the rights of persons belonging to minorities, as enshrined in UN and Council of Europe conventions and related protocols. In this regard, Ukraine will continue to consult and cooperate with the Venice Commission and will pursue the ongoing substantive dialogue with representatives of persons belonging to minorities, including on related legislation. The EU stands ready to assist Ukraine further in its reform efforts and their implementation.
- The EU welcomed Ukraine’s intention to prepare the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) on the basis of the Analytical Report on the preparedness of Ukraine in the acquis chapters following the Commission’s Opinion on Ukraine’s application for membership of the European Union. The EU is ready to provide technical support for the Government of Ukraine in this important step towards alignment of Ukrainian legislation with the EU acquis.
- We reiterated the intention to fully exploit the potential of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA), so as to establish conditions for enhanced economic and trade relations leading towards Ukraine’s integration into the EU’s Internal Market. The revised Priority Action Plan for enhanced implementation of the DCFTA for 2023-2024 constitutes the roadmap outlining the next steps to ease Ukraine’s access to EU’s Internal Market. The EU confirmed its willingness to provide the relevant support for the associated reforms. The EU highlighted the trade-enhancing effects of the temporary suspension of all tariffs and trade defence measures on imports from Ukraine into the EU since June 2022. The EU will consider Ukraine’s request to extend the measures beyond the current validity. Taking note of the positive effects of the EU trade liberalisation measures both parties committed to ensuring that any trade defence measures are taken in full conformity with the WTO and the Association Agreement/DCFTA. We welcomed Ukraine’s reforms in the area of customs and trade facilitation and joining the Common Transit Convention. Ukraine welcomed the EU’s ongoing determination and efforts to include Ukraine in the European roaming area as soon as possible. The EU acknowledged the efforts that Ukraine has made in aligning its telecommunications sector with European provisions and encouraged the country to continue on this path. We agreed to step up the work of the EU’s preliminary assessment missions and other necessary steps with a view to starting negotiations on the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA).
- The EU reiterated its commitment to provide continued support under ongoing projects and programmes. We welcomed Ukraine’s joining EU CUSTOMS and FISCALIS programmes, its association to the Horizon Europe, Euratom, Digital Europe and the EU’s Single Market Programme as well as its participation in the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.
[United in Responding to Russia’s War of Aggression against Ukraine]
- Russia’s escalating war of aggression against Ukraine constitutes a manifest violation of international law, including the principles of the UN Charter. The EU reaffirmed its unwavering support for and solidarity with Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian war of aggression. We condemn the systematic use by Russia of missiles and drones to attack civilians, and civilian objects and infrastructure across Ukraine, in breach of International Humanitarian Law. We firmly reject and unequivocally condemn the attempted illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. As in the case of Crimea and Sevastopol, the European Union will never recognise as lawful any attempted illegal annexations of any parts of Ukrainian territory. We demand that Russia immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.
- The EU commended the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people and its leadership in their fight to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom of Ukraine. In accordance with the UN Charter and international law, Ukraine is exercising its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression. It has the right to liberate and regain full control of all occupied territories within its internationally recognised borders.
- In the context of continued Russian attacks against civilian and critical infrastructure, which threaten the provision of basic services, the EU is fully committed to continue providing and coordinating the full spectrum of humanitarian aid and assistance to the Ukrainian society, in close cooperation with international humanitarian actors.
- We stressed that war crimes and the other most serious crimes committed during Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine of which there is growing evidence, are a gross violation of international law. We underlined our support for the investigations by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Russia, and all perpetrators and accomplices, will be held to account. We agreed to continue working together to ensure full accountability, including by establishing an appropriate mechanism for the crime of aggression, the prosecution of which is of interest to the international community as a whole. Ukraine emphasized its preference for establishing a Special Tribunal. We support the development of an international centre for the prosecution of the crime of aggression in Ukraine (ICPA) in The Hague with the objective to coordinate investigation of the crime of aggression against Ukraine, preserve and store evidence for future trials. This centre would be linked to the existing Joint Investigation Team supported by Eurojust.
- We discussed how to further support Ukraine and how to increase collective pressure on Russia to end its war of aggression and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
- The EU has further reinforced and extended its restrictive measures against Russia, including through the EU’s ninth package of restrictive measures and the international oil price cap and oil products price cap. The EU stands ready to continue to reinforce the restrictive measures in close coordination and cooperation with global partners, while ensuring their effective implementation, preventing circumvention and its facilitation. In this context, the EU reiterates its call for all countries to align with EU sanctions.
- We strongly condemned the military support to Russia’s war of aggression provided by the Iranian authorities, which must stop. In this context Ukraine welcomed the EU restrictive measures adopted on 12 December 2022. We called on the Belarusian authorities to stop enabling the Russian war of aggression by permitting Russian armed forces to use Belarusian territory and by providing support and training to the Russian military. The Belarusian regime must fully abide by its obligations under international law. The EU will continue to respond to all actions supporting Russia’s unlawful and unjustified war of aggression and remains ready to move quickly with further restrictive measures against Belarus.
- The EU reiterated its readiness to support Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. To date, Russia has not shown any genuine willingness regarding a fair and sustainable peace. We expressed our support to the peace formula of President Zelenskyy and our commitment to actively work with Ukraine on the 10-point peace plan. In this regard, we support the idea of a Peace Formula Summit aiming at launching its implementation. We will work together to ensure the widest possible international participation.
- Ukraine welcomed the EU’s commitment to continue providing political and military support as long as it takes. This includes military assistance of more than EUR 3.6 billion under the European Peace Facility, and the launch of the EU Military Assistance Mission to train an initial 30 000 soldiers in 2023. Together with the military support provided by EU Member States, the overall EU military support to Ukraine is estimated at close to EUR 12 billion.
- The EU reconfirmed its solidarity with Ukraine in countering hybrid threats and cyberattacks and its commitment to continue the support in this regard. We highlighted our enhanced cooperation in cybersecurity and our commitment to achieving further concrete results. We acknowledged the importance of strengthening cooperation in tackling Russian state-controlled information manipulation and interference, including disinformation, as well as building resilience in Ukraine’s digital transformation.
[Financial and other types of support]
- The EU will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. Ukraine welcomed the EU’s pledged assistance in response to Russia´s war of aggression. Overall assistance to Ukraine pledged both at EU and Member states level so far amounts to nearly EUR 50 billion, which includes financial, humanitarian, emergency, budgetary as well as military support. This also includes the commitment to provide up to EUR 18 billion MFA+ package for short-term EU financial relief financing Ukraine’s immediate needs and rehabilitation of critical infrastructure for 2023. An additional EUR 10 billion was provided in support to refugees. Ukraine welcomed the first disbursement of EUR 3 billion that contributed to lessen the pressing liquidity needs early in the year.
- Some 8 million Ukrainians have been provided shelter from the Russian war of aggression in the EU. Displaced persons from Ukraine seeking refuge in the EU will continue to be protected as foreseen under the Temporary Protection Directive until at least March 2024.
- Russia’s ongoing campaign of systematic missile and drone strikes against Ukrainian civilians, civilian targets, energy and telecommunications infrastructure and other utilities, inflicts even more suffering on the Ukrainian people and is a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.
- In this context, we welcomed the coordination mechanism agreed at the Paris conference on Ukraine’s resilience and reconstruction on 13 December 2022 and the role of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in its implementation and underlined the importance of close cooperation with the G7 and all international partners.
- We condemned Russia’s actions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and call on Russia to immediately cease actions endangering the safety and security of civilian nuclear facilities. We underlined our full support for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s work to assist Ukraine in ensuring nuclear safety and security. The EU will remain united in the face of Russia’s weaponisation of energy.
- The EU and its Member States have provided in kind assistance worth € 527 million, including in the area of energy, through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, and EUR €485 million worth of humanitarian assistance in 2022. We discussed the continued provision of humanitarian and civil protection assistance to Ukraine, including in-kind, and assistance in the restoration of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure to help Ukraine get through the winter and preserve livelihoods and basic services, including rehabilitation of housing for Internally Displaced Persons, schools for Ukrainian children and very urgent energy equipment such as i.a. autotransformers, energy generators and LED lightbulbs.
- The EU recalled its commitment to providing, along with partners, support to Ukraine’s fast recovery and reconstruction, including rebuilding of the social infrastructure and demining assistance, as well as in providing support in health and psychological rehabilitation and reintegration into active social life. In this context, the EU announced a new package of up to EUR 25 million to support humanitarian action. The EU confirmed its intention to play a leading role, notably through the inclusive multi-agency Donor Coordination Platform agreed between Ukraine, the G7, International Financial Institutions and other key partners, building also on the results of the Lugano and Berlin international conferences on the reconstruction of Ukraine. The EU and Ukraine underlined that relief, reconstruction, reforms and Ukraine’s European path are mutually reinforcing, underpinning Ukraine’s efforts in its modernization and alignment with EU standards. We acknowledged the crucial role civil society, local administrations and private actors will play in Ukraine’s reconstruction.
- We welcomed the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union and Ukraine on a Strategic Partnership on Renewable Gases during the Summit, which will strengthen our energy security, support our fight against climate change, and have a positive impact on economic recovery and the further integration of our energy markets.
- We underscored the importance of further implementing the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes. Covering trade across all sectors and connecting Ukraine with the EU and the rest of the world, they have become a life line for Ukraine’s economy. Between May and December 2022, they have allowed for the export of about 45 million tonnes of Ukrainian goods and equally importantly the import into Ukraine of about 23 million tonnes of goods it needs, generating an estimated EUR 20 billion in revenues for Ukrainian farmers and businesses. We agreed to prioritise efforts to further strengthen EU-Ukraine connectivity, particularly by improving infrastructural connections, including through the development of interoperable railway infrastructure, extending the EU-Ukraine Road Transport Agreement and by mobilising EU financial support to the development of the Solidarity Lanes as announced in the EU – Ukraine Joint Declaration of 11 November 2022.
[Frozen assets, diplomacy and other]
- The EU will also step up its work towards the use of Russia’s frozen assets to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and for the purposes of reparation, in accordance with EU and international law.
- The EU will further step up its ongoing diplomatic efforts in support of Ukraine in all relevant international fora, calling for steadfast solidarity with Ukraine against Russia’s war of aggression.
- We recalled that Russia, by weaponising food in its war of aggression against Ukraine, has triggered world-wide disruptions of agricultural production, supply chains and trade that have driven food and fertiliser prices to unprecedented levels. We underlined the importance of and need for further strengthening of the Solidarity Lanes, which have brought over 23 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain, oilseeds and other products to world markets between May and December 2022. Together with the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Grain from Ukraine programme, Solidarity Lanes are essential for our shared objective of ensuring continued availability and affordability of food and fertilisers. We are standing in full solidarity with partners world-wide by stepping up the diplomatic outreach and support for global food security.
- In parallel to Ukraine’s European integration efforts, the EU and Ukraine recognised the importance of further strengthening tailor-made regional cooperation including the Eastern Partnership, which with its differentiated approach contributes to the resilience of our Eastern Neighbourhood, facilitating also the cooperation on security issues, including energy security and hybrid threats.
- The EU and Ukraine welcomed the successful first meeting of the European Political Community which took place on 6 October 2022 in Prague. The meeting provided a platform for political coordination and an opportunity for in-depth exchanges on pressing issues concerning the entire continent. We look forward to the next meeting to be held in Chisinau in the first half of 2023.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy
President of the European Council Charles Michel
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
Kyiv, 3 February, 24th EU-Ukraine Summit