Monday, September 13, 2010

Joint statement by Yanukovych, Barroso: Kyiv, Brussels will strengthen relations

September 13, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso have made a joint statement after talks held in Brussels on Monday, an UKRINFORM correspondent reported. The statement says that the two presidents stressed their unequivocal support for the further strengthening of EU-Ukraine relations and reconfirmed their commitment to cooperate closely in facilitating the implementation of the reform agenda in Ukraine with a view to bringing Ukraine closer to the European Union.
"The leaders exchanged views on the negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, notably its deep and comprehensive free trade area aspects. They welcomed the progress made to-date and looked forward to accelerating and completing the negotiations as soon as possible. The leaders reiterated their common commitment to establishing a deep and comprehensive free trade area with a view to providing for the gradual integration of Ukraine into the EU's internal market," reads the statement.
The leaders discussed the issue of a future Action Plan setting out conditions to be met by Ukraine in order to establish a visa-free travel with the EU, which will be on the agenda of the forthcoming Ukraine-EU Summit in November this year. Viktor Yanukovych and Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed continuing cooperation between the EU and Ukraine across a comprehensive range of sectors. They underlined the importance of the Stand-By Arrangement agreed with the IMF, which the EU is complementing and supporting through EUR 610 million of macro-financial assistance, and looked forward to its full implementation in the interests of economic stability and a return to growth. They also discussed other reform priorities set out in the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda, including in the areas of the economy, trade and energy. President Barroso warmly welcomed the adoption by Ukraine of a law on the functioning of the gas market, as well as Ukraine's steps to finalize the process of Accession to the Energy Community and to implement the necessary reforms for the modernization of Ukraine's energy sector (including gas transit to the EU), to which the EU stands ready to contribute. The leaders said in particular that the relationship between the EU and Ukraine was based on a common history and common values such as democracy, market economy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. They noted, in this regard, the vital role of a free media and an independent judiciary for the continuing consolidation of Ukraine's democratic development. They also stressed the importance of the forthcoming local elections in Ukraine being conducted in accordance with international standards.
President Barroso and President Yanukovych welcomed the EU's Joint Cooperation Initiative for Crimea, which includes EUR 12 million in 2010 for the development of the region. The leaders also discussed relations with the Russian Federation, the situation in Moldova and the Transdniestria settlement process. They looked forward to reviewing progress on these and other areas at the forthcoming EU-Ukraine Summit, which will take place in Brussels on November 22.