Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ukraine: Upcoming EU-Ukraine Summit is Expected to Push Forward Long-Awaited Decisions

The upcoming summit between Ukraine and European Union planned to be held in Brussels is expected to bring into life several decisions, on which both sides have worked and negotiated for a long time now. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will receive Viktor Yanukovych on Monday (22 November) in a Brussels castle at Val Duchesse.

The Ukrainian side expects to sign the Visa-Free Action Plan. According to Kostyantyn Yeliseyev, Ukraine's Ambassador to the EU, the action plan for Ukraine is currently under consideration by the EU member states. Once signed, the document can become a road map for reforms in the areas of migration, readmission and security of documents.

Both Yeliseyev and EU officials said the stakes were high at the summit and expressed hope that Brussels and Kyiv would conclude a free trade agreement by next summer. Brussels and Kyiv are also due to sign a document heralding the beginning of various EU programmes in Ukraine.

The EU-Ukraine summit will also focus on discussing progress with respect to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, energy reform, as well as deepening cooperation and convergence in foreign and security policy and the Joint Co-operation Initiative for Crimea.

On top of that, leaders will touch upon regional issues, namely the Transdnistrian conflict, the EU Border Assistance Mission and relations with Belarus.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and his Swedish colleague Carl Bildt are today paying a visit to Kyiv, in what could be seen as a fact-finding mission to prepare the summit, EurActiv Poland reported. Poland and Sweden were the initiators of the so-called 'Eastern Partnership', a policy that draws former ex-Soviet states closer to the EU. The opinion of Warsaw and Stockholm with respect to Ukraine is widely taken into account in the EU circles, diplomats say.

The last EU-Ukraine summit was held in Kyiv, on December 4, 2009. This will be the first summit with Ukraine to be organized under the arrangements introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, which established a permanent President of the European Council who chairs summits with partner countries.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine