On Wednesday, March 20, an informal mini-summit of Ukraine-EU was held in Brussels with the participation of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, heads of the European Council Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament Antonio Tajani, as well as key profile members of the European Commission. The main goal of the event was to coordinate approaches to the development of relations between Ukraine and the EU in the near future and to coordinate joint counteraction to existing challenges, the press service of the President informs. The EU leaders stressed the importance of irreversibility of Ukraine's course towards rapprochement with the EU. It was noted the importance of ensuring free and fair presidential elections in Ukraine, as a result of which the policy of integration into the European Union and the introduction of comprehensive reforms will be maintained.
In this context, Petro Poroshenko outlined the vision of the key priorities of the development of the Ukrainian state and its relations with the European Union, which are based on the process of Ukraine's achievement of EU membership criteria. The leaders agreed to coordinate efforts to counter external interference in the electoral processes both in Ukraine and in the European Union, in particular in the field of cybersecurity and resistance to disinformation. In the context of the fifth anniversary of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, the head of state reaffirmed his unconditional commitment to the policy of de-occupation of the peninsula and its return to Ukrainian sovereignty by political and diplomatic means.
The President of Ukraine thanked the EU for a clear position on the non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and the preservation of the sanctions regime against Russia for brutal violation of international law. Poroshenko called on the European Union to extend sanctions pressure on Russia in order to release all Ukrainian sailors and other hostages, as well as the complete liberation of the territories of Ukraine from Russian occupation. Ukrainian sanctions against Russia, the decree on the expansion of which the President of Ukraine signed that day are synchronized with similar EU and U.S. sanctions. Petro Poroshenko stated this on Twitter before the mini-summit in Brussels.
The President of Ukraine also welcomed the EU's decision to introduce a new “Azov package” of EU sanctions for violation of freedom of navigation and Russia's creeping occupation of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, and also called for increased pressure on the Russian Federation to immediately release Ukrainian prisoners of war. The participants of the mini-summit agreed to accelerate the implementing of the EU program on socio-economic assistance to the Ukrainian Priazovy. The President of Ukraine paid special attention to the discussion of the ways to strengthen Ukraine's energy security in cooperation with the European Union, including ensuring gas transit and implementing Ukraine – EU Energy Bridge.
The head of state called on the EU leaders to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which poses a threat to the energy security of the entire European continent. Also, the President thanked the European Commission for the adopted Annex 27 to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which allows to synchronize energy markets. "This is our direct response to the Russian Federation, why the European Commission, the European Union should take an active part in the negotiations on energy issues, including the Nord Stream 2," Petro Poroshenko stressed.
In addition, the head of state stressed that this decision is already a sectoral integration in the energy sector, where Ukraine aspires to and which starts from different projects: from the prevention of Nord stream 2 and ending with the construction of the Energy Bridge, the construction of which was discussed during a meeting in Khmelnitsky with the participation of the President. Petro Poroshenko also said that the European Commission supported his proposal on the digital market. «For ordinary Ukrainians, this has very simple positions, that I have been talking about – the lack of roaming charges while traveling. This is a so-called digital visa-free regime. And I think this position is also extremely relevant», – he noted, according to the "Тверезий погляд". The head of state expressed hope that today an agreement on the date of the next EU-Ukraine summit will be reached. «We hope that it will be at the beginning of summer and after the negotiations you will be able to know the date of the summit», – he said, informs "Тверезий погляд".
The European Union highly appreciated the Ukraine's progress in fulfilling conditions for obtaining the second tranche of macro-financial assistance in the amount of EUR 500 million. Finance Minister Oksana Markarova posted this on Facebook. "The European colleagues highly appreciated the progress in implementing the program required for the second tranche of the macro-financial assistance and also confirmed their readiness to provide investment and loan support for the Pryazovia projects", - she noted following the results of mini-summit with the participation of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, informs "НВ Бізнес".
The next Ukraine-EU summit will be held on July 8, the venue has not yet been reported. It is reported "European Pravda" with reference to the reporter of Radio Free in Brussels Rikard Jozwiak. The European side will be represented by the European Council President Donald Tusk. “The big question is, who will represent Kyiv?", - wrote Jozwiak, informs « European Pravda ».
It can be argued that the mini-summit was held quite successfully, because it discussed important for Ukraine issues of further cooperation. In addition, Poroshenko had a good opportunity to receive financial assistance from European friends on the eve of the elections. By organizing such a meeting, European representatives, in this way, expressed their support for Ukraine and hope for further cooperation with our country, regardless of who will become President after the presidential elections.