Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle on his visit to Ukraine
Brussels, 13 December 2011
During my visit to Ukraine, I have met with President Yanukovych of Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Klyuyev and Foreign Minister Gryschenko. I also had the opportunity to visit former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Batkivshchyna Party, who is currently in detention.
The aim of my visit to Kyiv was to prepare the ground for the EU-Ukraine Summit on 19 December, where we have a number of important issues to discuss both in current EU-Ukraine relations and in relation to our longer-term goal of political association and economic integration for which the negotiations on the Association Agreement should be finalised.
My talks focused on a number of recent developments both in Ukraine and in the EU. I have stressed to my Ukrainian counterparts that the relationship with Ukraine is important for the EU, and that the Association Agreement is the best prospect for Ukrainian citizens to be assured of a future based on European values and standards.
I underlined that the EU is concerned about lack of progress on a number of critical reforms in Ukraine, including those in the constitutional and judicial spheres and we have had substantial discussions on these. I also reiterated our serious concern over recent cases of selective justice in Ukraine, including the cases of Yulia Tymoshenko and others.
We also had useful exchanges on issues related to economic governance and on the need to improve the business environment, including on the necessity for Ukraine to secure a fair and market oriented price for gas and to ensure full compliance with its commitments and obligations as a member of the Energy Community.
I was glad to have the opportunity of a private conversation with Yulia Tymoshenko, and to talk to her about her health condition and about the developments in her case. I informed her about the EU´s concerns regarding this process and assured her that we would continue to follow closely her appeal and would insist upon the need for her to benefit from of all her rights to defend herself in a fair process. We also discussed the prospects for a long-term political association with Ukraine, for which a strong consensus among all Ukrainians will be essential and the Association Agreement whose rapid conclusion she explicitly called for.