Reports 2016

EU-Ukraine relations: achievements and prospects

8 November 2016

Since 1991, every Ukrainian government has stated that Ukraine is an integral part of the European family and declared its European choice. However, only in the aftermath of the Euromaidan protests did Ukraine’s new leadership begin to take meaningful political and economic reform, including taking concrete steps to combat Ukraine’s pandemic corruption. These steps were aimed not only at strengthening relations with the EU, but more importantly, at building a resilient, strong and secure country. Ukraine is currently implementing an Association Agreement including a deep trade deal, and is expecting to receive visa liberalisation by the end of the year.

That said, significant challenges remain both on the internal and external front. While the situation in occupied Crimea continues to deteriorate, the security situation in the Donbas remains extremely fragile. The Minsk Agreements remain to all intents and purposes unimplemented, primarily due to Russia failing to meet its commitments. Ceasefire violations take place on a daily basis. The failure of the Dutch Parliament to ratify the Association Agreement has placed a question mark over whether or not it will be possible to move from the provisional application of the agreement to its full entry into force, thus undermining Ukraine’s efforts to implement its reform agenda. The consistent results of the new anticorruption structures are still to be seen, as well as the government’s efforts with regard to de-oligarchisation. There are also concerns that the multiple crises that the EU has faced in recent years, along with the rise of populism across the EU as well as Brexit, may impact EU-Ukraine relations in a negative way. The forthcoming 24 November EU-Ukraine summit will represent an opportunity to take stock of relations. This Policy Briefing assessed the progress made by Ukraine as well as the key challenges that lie ahead.

Speakers included: Amanda Paul, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine for European Integration, Petras Austrevicius, Member of the European Parliament