EU Council to consider reforms in Ukraine, Minsk process
On Monday, a meeting of the EU Council on Foreign Affairs will take place in Brussels, at which the issue of Ukraine is the first to be considered.
Foreign ministers of the EU member states intend to discuss the process of reforms in Ukraine and the state of implementation of Minsk agreements, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels.
The meeting will be chaired by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who visited Ukraine on March 11-12.
On the eve of the meeting, a high-ranking European diplomat said that during the meeting Mogherini would brief the ministers on her trip, while two key issues would be discussed: reform agenda and the Minsk process. The official said the discussion of the reform agenda will be very timely because a conference on reform with a possible participation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman will be held in Copenhagen on June 27.
Read alsoKyiv assures Brussels: No backsliding on reform in UkraineA non-paper drafted by the Ukrainian side, titled "Strengthening EU Support to Ukraine in Implementing Reforms and Countering Russian Aggression", was being circulated in Brussels ahead of the meeting. Also ahead of the meeting, a joint non-paper drafted by 13 EU member states has been presented, where officials touch upon the reform process in Ukraine.
The non-paper prepared by the Ukrainian side, which is at UNIAN disposal, notes that Kyiv has "taken note of the joint non-paper 'Keeping Ukraine on the Reform Path', presented by 13 EU Member States in the context of preparation for discussion on the situation in Ukraine at the forthcoming EU Foreign Affairs Council on 19 March and the Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen on 27 June".
"We appreciate the positive assessment of the efforts of the Ukrainian leadership to implement comprehensive and large-scale reform agenda to strengthen democratic institutions and restore economic growth in Ukraine based on the best European and international standards," the non-paper reads, adding that, in fact, it is well acknowledged that over the last 4 years after the Revolution of Dignity Ukraine implemented more reforms by their scale and depth than in the course of its entire independence.
Kyiv has drafted a number of proposals for the bloc in case Brussels is committed to strengthening its support for Ukraine to counter Russian aggression.
Read alsoUkraine asks EU to recognize Russia "aggressor state", strengthen sanctionsAfter four years of Russian aggression against Ukraine, Kyiv expects that the EU "will recognize Russia as an aggressor country and an occupation power. The EU will significantly strengthen the restrictive measures of individual and economic nature against Russia, including preventing EU companies from cooperating with Russia in the military sphere. The EU sanctions should be leveled up to the US sanctions to form the integral transatlantic sanctions regime. They must be kept until sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is fully restored, including Crimea," the non-paper says.
Ukraine believes the EU will take the lead in promoting the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Donbas to cover the whole area beyond government control and to seal the uncontrolled part of Ukraine-Russia state border. Kyiv also deems necessary that the EU Political and Security Committee mission pay a second visit to Donbas in the coming months, while the EU – unblock the possibility for its Advisory Mission to operate in the government-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"The EU should take political decision to allow the EU member states to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons and bolstering training assistance as a deterrent to Russian aggression with a view to helping Ukraine in ensuring its right for self-defense in accordance with the UN Charter," the non-paper says.
Ukraine acknowledges that several issues for the upcoming fourth review are yet to be done, including the establishment of the high anticorruption court and adjusting the gas tariffs.
"We expect that these issues will be settled in the near future. There is no time for any pause in reforms and no justified grounds to say about any so-called backsliding. We fully share the call of 13 EU member states for increased efforts of the international community to counter the false narrative that nothing has changed or the reforms are backsliding," the Ukrainian side assures.