Members of the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution welcoming Ukraine’s progress in implementing the Association Agreement with the EU, but expressed concern about the failures in the fight against corruption and continued oligarchic influence.
Some 526 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, 79 voted against, and 71 abstained.
“In a report on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine adopted on Thursday, the Parliament welcomed Ukraine’s achievements in fulfilling its obligations under this Agreement, in particular in the fields of agriculture, energy, banking, decentralisation, the digital economy, the environment and electoral procedures,” the press service of the European Parliament reported.
At the same time, the document emphasises the need to carry out a number of reforms to avoid any backsliding, and points to the judiciary as one of the least-trusted institutions in Ukraine.
“MEPs are also deeply concerned that the stakeholders are likely to be trying to undermine the country’s achievements in the fight against corruption and general democratic reforms. Some Ukrainian oligarchs, in particular, are trying to regain political power to weaken the majority in the reform-oriented Verkhovna Rada,” the statement reads.
The European Parliament also criticises the government’s attempts to exert political pressure on independent economic institutions and executive bodies, such as the National Bank of Ukraine.
In addition, the EP reiterated the European Union’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and its support for the internationally coordinated sanctioning of the Russian Government. It also strongly condemns the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, religion or belief and association, by separatists and the Russian occupying forces in Crimea and Donbas.
“To better deal with such violations, MEPs call on the European External Action Service and the Commission to quickly implement the EU’s global human rights sanctions regime, while paying particular attention to the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in Crimea and in Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the report says.
The European Parliament stresses the importance of identifying additional disengagement areas in Donbas, as well as opening new entry-exit checkpoints on the contact line. At the same time, the report underlines that “the conditions for free and fair elections in Donetsk and Luhansk have not been met in the current situation.” According to MEPs, when the situation allows, the EU should offer a civilian mission to assist in demining, making preparations for local elections and securing free access for humanitarian aid organisations.
The resolution also acknowledges “Ukraine’s unique experience and expertise” in security and defence policy, and welcomes the country’s participation in EU missions and operations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has already reacted to the European Parliament resolution. The Foreign Ministry’s comment states that Kyiv has taken into account the remarks of MEPs, in particular in the areas of the rule of law, good governance and the fight against corruption.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stressed that the report is not only a comprehensive review by the EU of the implementation process of the Association Agreement but also contains important signals on the full range of Ukraine’s relations with the EU in the context of further development of political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union.