The summit Ukraine-EU in Brussels starts on November 24th at 13:00 Kyiv time, it will be held in the format of a working lunch. Before this will be a separate meeting of the presidents of the European Council Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
According to the Council of the EU, at 14:40 expected their joint press conference, therefore, the summit itself will last more than one and a half hours.
Participation in plenary working lunch will also be attended by the EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini, Vice-presidents of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic and Valdis Dombrovskis and European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Cecilia malmström and Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos.
In the Council say that the summit will be an opportunity to reaffirm the strong partnership between the EU and Ukraine. It is expected that leaders will highlight the importance of political and economic reforms, and the need to continue already implemented earlier reforms. In the course of negotiations can be agreed on allocation of 15 million euros to support programs to fight corruption, as well as 140 million euros for the reform of public administration; announced the launch of a new programme in support of the rule of law, mainly through judicial and police reform. In the EU said they would also discuss the issue of signing the agreement on the exchange of data between Ukraine and Europol.
An important aspect remains the energy sector, in this vein, the EU will assess the prospects for the new winter gas package.
“The summit is expected to confirm the role of Ukraine as a strategic gas transit country for the EU and the importance of uninterrupted supply of gas to Europe this winter. On the sidelines of the summit the EU and Ukraine may sign a Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the energy sector”, – stated in the message of the EU Council.
This summit will be the first after the start of the provisional application of the deep and comprehensive free trade area (FTA) since January of 2016. EU leaders and the President are likely to discuss the economic effect of this agreement. Recently, Poroshenko has said that the EU’s share in Ukrainian foreign trade is 41% and Ukraine in the beginning to compensate for the loss of the Russian market.
At the summit of course will be confirmed, EU support to the territorial integrity of Ukraine. EU leaders will also talk about the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the humanitarian situation in the East of Ukraine and prospects of socio-economic integration of internally displaced persons, the deteriorating situation with human rights in the temporarily uncontrolled parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and in Crimea and Sevastopol.
“The EU confirms its commitment to the full implementation of its policy of non-recognition, including through restrictive measures”, – noted in the Department.
About EU plans to extend sanctions against Russia has been repeatedly reported, and in their renewal almost certain. Probably sanctions, which expire on 31 January 2017, will be extended for another six months, and officially it will be announced in December.
At tomorrow’s summit can also be declared about increase in practical support of the Special monitoring mission of OSCE in Ukraine.
But the main effect of the summit earlier in the Ukraine were expecting a decision on bizwise. Why? In late October, the President said that Ukraine will receive visa-free travel until November 24, when in Brussels will host a summit Ukraine-EU.
“I am confident that the documents on granting Ukraine a visa-free regime will be fully signed and ratified by the European Parliament, no doubt. I can even say to what date this will happen before November 24,” – said the head of state.
But in practice it turned out that the procedure can not be implemented so quickly. As you know, 17 November the ambassadors of the EU countries approved the start of visa liberalization for Ukraine. At the same time and it was agreed that the entry into force of visa liberalization must occur simultaneously with the entry into force of the new mechanism for the cancellation of the same visa-free regime. The last has not yet approved, and therefore nothing new bezveze 24 November, the EU will not be able to tell. In the presidential Administration confirm this. The Deputy head of the presidential Administration Konstantin Eliseev said that the precise date received bezveza definitely will not be called tomorrow. He explains that the delay in granting visa-free regime occurred due to the migration crisis in Europe, and now everything is interconnected.
“Any insinuation that, well, something Ukraine has not fulfilled, or that have holes, are now groundless. We hope that the negotiations concerning the mechanism of suspension (validity of the visa regime – ed.) will be completed and bezviz will be provided. The connection between these two issues video – immediately after the decision on the suspension mechanism for the consideration of the plenary session of the European Parliament served the decision on granting visa-free regime for Ukraine,” Yeliseyev said in an interview “RBC-Ukraine”.
When will be approved by a suspension mechanism bezveza is not yet known. Meanwhile, a leak to the media of different dates, some write that the European Parliament can vote bezviz and “pausing” at a plenary week in December, others say the decision is not expected before the end of January.
In the announcement of the EU summit clearly States that “leaders will welcome the recent steps towards liberalisation of the visa regime for Ukraine”, and refers to the decision of 17 November.
In Brussels will discuss another very important point is the acceleration of the ratification of the Association Agreement with the Netherlands, where in the consultative referendum, the Dutch objected to the agreement. There is a very difficult situation, as the government of Ukraine and the Netherlands for quite a long time discussing this issue but no specific solutions yet.
At the end of October, Prime Minister of the Netherlands mark Rutte said that the Dutch government still decided to ratify the document, but under one condition – add a clarifying Declaration, which should be noted that the Agreement is the first step towards Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, and several other items. It was reported that the document hope to agree to a summit of EU in December 2016.
Poroshenko is predicted that there will be a mutually acceptable compromise between Ukraine, EU and the Netherlands and ratification of the Association Agreement and the free trade area to be completed.
In any case, now we have to wait for the joint statement of Ukraine and the EU and will probably become more clear the further prospect of the abolition of visas and ratification of the Association Agreement.