EU-Ukraine Summit: Moving Forward Together

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, at the 23rd EU-Ukraine Summit in Kyiv, the European Union and Ukraine reaffirmed their strong partnership and commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President, Charles Michel, and High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, represented the European Union alongside the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The European Union and Ukraine agreed on a Joint Statement, demonstrating the richness of the bilateral agenda.

President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The European Union attaches the utmost importance to its relations with Ukraine. Together we have built a special partnership, based on mutual solidarity and friendship. We share a commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union and progress has been made in many areas. We will continue to work together on the untapped opportunities that the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement has to offer. This, alongside continued unity on sanctions, shows the EU’s commitment to Ukraine – one that remains unwavering”.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell added: “The EU is Ukraine’s strongest and most reliable strategic partner. At today’s summit we also reconfirm the EU’s continued political support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as non-recognition policy of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The EU will continue to stand firm in its support the implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

Read the full remarks of President von der Leyen at the joint press conference here.

In the margins of the Summit, the European Union and Ukraine made progress in a number of key sectors of cooperation, with three new important agreements.

Signing of a milestone aviation agreement

The European Union and Ukraine signed a comprehensive air transport agreement, opening the way for a ‘Common Aviation Area’ between the EU and Ukraine, based on common high standards in important areas such as aviation safety, security and air traffic management. It will foster market access and offer new opportunities for consumers and airlines on both sides.

Ukraine is an increasingly important aviation market for the EU, since it was the 13th largest extra-EU market in 2019, with 9.8 million passengers. Air transport for passengers, as well as for cargo between Ukraine and the EU, has been growing steadily in recent years. This trend was only interrupted during the COVID crisis.

The agreement signed today aims to gradually open the respective aviation markets and integrate Ukraine into a wider European Common Aviation Area. Ukraine will further align its legislation with EU aviation rules and standards in areas such as aviation safety, air traffic management, security, the environment, economic regulation, competition, consumer protection and social aspects.

Today’s Agreement is expected to offer new air transport opportunities, more direct connections and economic benefits to both sides:

  • All EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights from anywhere in the EU to any airport in Ukraine, and vice versa for Ukrainian airlines.
  • All limitations and restrictions on flights between Ukraine and the EU will be removed and the provisions on open and fair competition will guarantee a level playing field.

The Agreement will facilitate people-to-people contacts and expand commercial opportunities and trade between the EU and Ukraine. It will also be a valuable instrument in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and, in particular, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

While the Agreement still needs to be ratified by both sides before formally entering into force, it will start to apply from today’s signature.

Association of Ukraine to Horizon Europe

The Summit also provided the opportunity to finalise the association of Ukraine to Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme for 2021-2027, as well as the Euratom Research and Training Programme for 2021-2025. Ukrainian researchers and innovators can now participate in those two programmes, with a budget of €95.5 billion and €1.38 billion respectively, under the same conditions as entities from EU Member States. This cooperation in science, research and innovation further strengthens the alliance between the EU and Ukraine to deliver on common priorities, such as the twin green and digital transition. Horizon Europe is one of the main tools to implement Europe’s strategy for international cooperation: Europe’s global approach to cooperation in research and innovation. The programme is open to researchers and innovators from around the world, who can team up with EU partners in preparing proposals.

Association of Ukraine to Creative Europe

During the Summit, the association of Ukraine to Creative Europe, the EU programme to support the cultural and creative sectors for the period for 2021-2027, was also finalised. The new Creative Europe programme continues to support and promote cultural heritage, creativity, internationalisation, professionalisation, innovation and competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors. Ukrainian cultural and creative organisations can now participate in Europe’s flagship €2.44 billion programme, under the same conditions as entities from EU Member States.

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