Books on Ukraine
Update No: 359 -
EU - Ukraine summit
At a European Union-Ukraine summit on
November 22nd, EU leaders called on
Ukraine to give renewed impetus to reform
efforts concerning the consolidation of
human rights, democratic principles and
the rule of law. They urged Ukraine to
make further progress in improving the
business and investment climate
particularly by tackling corruption and
They welcomed reforms in the
macro-economic sphere, particularly in the
light of Ukraine’s Standby Arrangement
with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF). They looked forward to Ukraine’s
imminent accession to the Energy
Community. In the energy sector they
reviewed progress in the implementation of
the memorandum of understanding on energy
co-operation as well as the modernisation
of Ukraine’s gas transit system.
The leaders also discussed the
opportunities provided by the Eastern
Partnership to promote political
association and economic integration
between the EU and countries of the
Eastern Partnership, a European Commission
(EC) statement said.
The 14th EU-Ukraine Summit was hosted by
European Council President Herman Van
Rompuy. The Commission was represented by
no less a person than EC President José
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
accompanied both presidents. Barroso was
also accompanied by the Commissioner for
Enlargement and European Neighbourhood
Policy, Štefan Füle, and Commissioner for
Trade, Karel de Gucht.
The Ukrainian side was represented by
President Viktor Yanukovych accompanied by
foreign minister Konstantyn Gryshenko.
"This is our first summit since President
Yanukovych was elected earlier this year
but overall this is my fourth meeting with
the president in one year," Van Rompuy
"Reform in Ukraine and the EU-Ukraine
bilateral relationship are at the top of
the agenda. We will welcome the positive
steps taken by Ukraine particularly in the
economic and energy sphere. We look to
Ukraine’s leadership to increase the
reform momentum in these areas and as
regards respect for human rights, the rule
of law and democratic principles," Van
Barroso said: "Ukraine is a key partner
for the EU and an important regional
player. The ambitious agenda of this
summit reflects our dynamic relationship.
"I am pleased that we are able to announce
an Action Plan towards the establishment
of a visa free-regime for Ukraine and that
a Protocol will be signed which gives
Ukraine access to EU programmes. These are
two concrete examples of the EU's
continued engagement with Ukraine. We also
take stock of the progress in the
negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association
Agreement, which we want to complete as
soon as possible. We stress the need to
deepen the process of reform, in
particular in the area of rule of law and
the business and investment climate,"
Putin is positive
Ukraine has to think eastwards as well
as westwards. Eastward of course foremost
lies Russia. Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin says trade ties with
Ukraine have improved dramatically since
Kremlin-friendly President Viktor
Yanukovych came to power.
Putin made his remarks in Kiev, where he
met Ukrainian leaders for talks on
natural-gas supplies to Ukraine. Putin
said trade turnover between Russia and
Ukraine rose nearly 80 percent this year
because of improving global conditions,
but also because ties were "normalized."
About 80 percent of Russian gas exports to
the European Union transit Ukraine, and
Russia has long said it wants a stake in
Ukraine's pipeline system.
Ukraine, which depends on Russian gas
imports, wants Russia to cut prices.
During his last visit in April, Putin
proposed a merger between Russian energy
giant Gazprom and Ukraine's state-owned
Naftogaz. Ukraine has ruled out a merger,
but Ukrainian officials have said a joint
venture between the two countries is a
possibility if it buys cheaper gas.
Russia, Ukraine start evaluation of energy
Putin's tip is being taken up. Russian and
Ukrainian energy firms have begun
evaluating assets that will make up the
backbone of a future joint venture, the
first possible step towards a full merger,
Gazprom said on Wednesday.
"The sides agreed to begin the evaluation
of the assets which can be included in the
joint venture," Gazprom said following
talks in Moscow between Gazprom chief
executive Alexei Miller and Ukrainian Fuel
and Energy Minister Yury Boiko.
In April, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin caught Ukraine's leaders off guard
by proposing a merger between Gazprom, the
world's largest gas firm, and Ukraine's
gas company Naftogaz.
Despite rapidly warming ties, Ukraine has
so far managed to hold the line, insisting
that any merger with Gazprom should be
implemented on equal terms.
Ukrainian officials have however said that
a joint venture between the two energy
companies is a possibility. Gazprom has
proposed a 50-50 joint venture with
Naftogaz, calling it a possible first step
toward the merger of the two companies.
"The creation of a joint venture is a
necessary and absolutely logical step in
the business of developing cooperation
between the companies," Gazprom head
Miller said in a statement.
Russia has long said it wants a stake in
Ukraine's prized Soviet-era pipeline
network while Ukraine wants a joint
Russian-EU consortium to be set up to help
modernise the system.
In a possible jab at the European Union,
Miller said the future bilateral joint
venture would be more efficient that the
proposed consortium. "Unlike the
multilateral consortium, about which
ineffective talks have gone on for many
years, our joint venture will become a
real instrument of conducting business,"
Ukraine was quick to stress that the joint
venture with Russia would not undercut its
national interests. "All the projects,
which we begin today, are useful for our
state, they all, as per instructions from
our president, are conducted only on a
parity basis, only taking into account our
national interests," Boiko was quoted as
saying by the Ukrainian fuel and energy