Parliamentary Association Committee Holds Third EU-Ukraine Meeting

On the 25th and 26th of April 2016 in Brussels, the Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC) held the third EU-Ukraine meeting. Members of European and Ukrainian Parliaments discussed the current state-of-the-art of Ukraine-EU relationships. During the opening session, speakers addressed such key issues as the advisory referendum in the Netherlands on Ukraine, the visa liberalisation process, reforms in Ukraine, problems of the Minsk agreements.

PlenkovicIn his opening note, Co-Chair of the EU-Ukraine PAC Andrej Plenkovic stressed that Ukraine remained one of the most discussed and important foreign policy issues of the EU. He expressed his confidence in continuing good cooperation with Ukraine under the new Government of Volodymyr Hroyisman.

Co-chair of the PAC meeting MP Irina Herashchenko said that several key members of the PAC became members of Ukraine’s new Government, which will be beneficial for the further development of EU-Ukraine relations. She also underlined the unambiguous position of Ukraine with regard to the Association Agreement: “There shall be no new negotiations, no more amendments in the adopted text and no more delay with the Agreement coming into force” said Herashchenko.

Head of the Support Group for Ukraine Peter Wagner encouraged the new Government of Ukraine not to reinvent the wheel, but to use the positive attempts for reforms, initiated by the previous government. “There is no time to waste,” he said.

PAC3While representatives of EEAS and European Council suggested that the EU “can only help to help yourself” and addressed the concerns triggered by the Dutch referendum, the representative of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine Vsevolod Chentsov responded that common attempts and the ability to activate common resources from both sides the EU and Ukraine are needed for further development. With regard to the Dutch vote, he stressed that one should look for solutions not in the content of the Agreement, but in formal opportunities to deal with referendum results.

During the second day of the PAC, Ukraine’s reform agenda was discussed. Speakers addressed the successes and failures of the reforms in the fields of anti-corruption, public administration, judiciary, and decentralization.

Summarizing the meeting, MEP Andrej Plenkovic advised Ukrainian colleagues on the issue of upcoming legal harmonisation. “A good law is needed to adopt EU’s acquis,” he said. He also suggested to organise annual exercises to adopt the acquis communautaire and to introduce translation of the parts of the acquis to use experiences of other countries. However, there is no single model for coordination of acquis’ adoption process and Ukraine has to find its own way that fits its administrative and cultural environments.