10. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMMON STRATEGY
Relations with Ukraine: Council report to the European Council on the implementation of the Common Strategy of the European Union on Ukraine.
|Document originated:||10 December 2002
|Deposited in Parliament:||30 December 2002
|Department:||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration:||EM of 30 December 2002
|Previous Committee Report:||None
|Discussed in Council:||12-13 December 2002 European Council
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
The Government's view
10.1 Implementation reports on the EU's Common Strategy
on Ukraine are required annually by the European Council. This
Council report covers the work of the Spanish and Danish Presidencies
10.2 The Common Strategy's main objectives are:
- consolidation of democracy, rule of law, public institutions
and respect for human rights;
- supporting the process of economic and social reforms;
- strengthening regional and cross-border co-operation;
- promotion of co-operation on Justice and Home Affairs;
- strengthened EU/Ukraine co-operation in the context of enlargement;
- strengthening stability and security in Europe and beyond;
- co-operation on the environment, energy and nuclear safety.
Consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, public
institutions and respect for human rights
10.3 The first section deals with the EU's contribution
to the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, public institutions
and respect for human rights. The report refers to the importance
of European participation in the international missions to observe
the campaign prior to the parliamentary elections in March, but
makes no further comment on them. It does, however, stress that
freedom of the media was "another point of concern".
Expressing concern about the deterioration in the EU urged the
Ukrainian authorities to conduct a transparent and efficient investigation
into the deaths of two journalists. No satisfactory response had
been received when the report was finalised.
10.4 The EU has made it clear to Ukraine that progress
in bilateral relations will be based on shared political and economic
values. At the EU-Ukraine Summit on 4 July 2002, the report says
that it was agreed that it was of vital importance for Ukraine's
development, and for an improvement in the relationship, that
the institutions guaranteeing these values should be strengthened.
The EU's assistance would be increased but the Ukraine needed
to follow up its commitments with action.
10.5 In April, the Council discussed a common policy
on developing the EU's relations, following enlargement, with
Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. The New Neighbours Initiative, which
was discussed again in the Council in September, aims to promote
democratic and economic reforms, sustainable development and trade
with these three countries, in a bid to ensure greater stability
and prosperity to the east of the new borders of the Union. The
General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) in November
asked the Commission and the High Representative to prepare a
detailed proposal on taking the Initiative further. It will be
based on a differentiated approach which takes into consideration
each country's distinct political and economic situation and potential.
In the case of Ukraine, relations are only expected to move forward
if Ukraine actively implements reforms and respects its international
commitments, and the EU stressed again at the Troika meetings
in October and November that the partnership must be based on
common democratic values.
Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)
10.6 Following the adoption in November 2001 of the EU
Action Plan, cooperation with Ukraine on JHA entered a new phase.
The Spanish Presidency introduced a scoreboard for implementation,
evaluation and defining annual priorities. The Plan envisages
increased cooperation on:
- border management and visas;
- judicial and police cooperation; and
- strengthening justice and the rule of law.
10.7 Under these headings:
- negotiations on an EU-Ukraine Readmission Agreement started
under the Danish Presidency in November;
- TACIS finances will continue to provide support for creating
infrastructures and training for border police and customs officials;
- greater interaction between the Ukrainian authorities and
EUROPOL and EUROJUST will be developed. The Ukrainians have been
given a list of Council of Europe Conventions relating to the
fight against organised crime, corruption and judicial cooperation,
which the EU considers it very important that they should ratify.
10.8 At the first joint Ministerial meeting on JHA in
November, it was agreed which issues should be priorities for
cooperation. These include the fight against international terrorism.
The Ukrainians have proposed that this issue should be placed
on the agenda, on a permanent basis, of the relevant Partnership
and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) committee. It was also agreed
that the TACIS programme would support the establishment of systems
and procedures to combat money laundering.
Economic and social reforms
10.9 Implementation of the PCA and accession to the World
Trade Organisation remain high priorities, with regional and cross-border
cooperation endorsed in March as a priority under the PCA. Substantial
support has been given to the Science and Technology Centre and
exceptional support worth _10 million was approved in July for
European Security and Defence Policy
10.10 New arrangements agreed under the Spanish Presidency
will facilitate the involvement of Ukraine in EU crisis management,
including military operations. They will cover consultation with
Ukraine in periods when there is no crisis. In the case of an
emerging crisis, the arrangements foresee intensified dialogue
to ensure mutual information on respective positions. In the case
of an EU-led crisis management operation, and following an EU
Council invitation, the arrangements for Ukrainian involvement
have been set out.
The Civilian Crisis Management Capability Conference in Brussels
on 19 November 2002 is described as a major step forward in establishing
specific arrangements for the participation of non-EU countries
in such operations. Exploratory talks are now being held on the
possible use of Ukrainian long-haul transport aircraft.
10.11 Ukraine is contributing to the EU Police Mission
in Bosnia and is being encouraged by the EU to engage constructively
in conflict resolution in Moldova and in improving the situation
The environment, energy and nuclear safety
10.12 Co-operation on environment issues is reported
to be deepening. A special adviser, funded by the EU, will help
with preparations for the Pan-European Conference of Environment
Ministers, which Ukraine will host in May 2003.
10.13 Funds have been allocated through TACIS to overcome
the fuel shortage following the closing down of the Chernobyl
nuclear power station and the importance of constructive engagement
with the EU and ERBD on the loan approval process for modernising
two other nuclear power stations has been reiterated. In July,
the Commission sponsored a conference on developing the oil and
The Government's view
10.14 The Minister for Europe, Mr Denis MacShane, describes
the report as uncontroversial but says that it does help to reinforce
key messages to Ukraine on the need for reform as evidence of
its political commitment to "Europeanisation". He adds:
"Following the recent revelations that President Kuchma authorised
covert transfer of arms to Iraq, the EU has made clear that this
has cast doubt on Ukraine's reliability as a partner. Any development
in EU/Ukraine relations will require mutual trust and commitment
to common values. However, work on the New Neighbours Initiative,
as agreed at the November GAERC, will continue in order to provide
an incentive for reform and to give support to democratic reform
groups in Ukraine. The EU's long-term relationship with Ukraine
is more important than its relationship with Kuchma, whose term
of office expires in 2004."
10.15 Although this report may be uncontroversial,
it provides a useful account of the EU's work on its relations
with Ukraine. The explicit nature of its reiterated message that
improved relations will depend on shared democratic values and
a real effort at reform is particularly helpful. The Minister
has been unusually clear in pointing out that the EU's long-term
relationship with Ukraine is more important than its relationship
with President Kuchma. These are useful pointers to the conduct
and state of the relationship.
10.16 We believe that these implementation reports
are valuable and agree with the Government that they help to provide
continuity in EU policy towards Ukraine between EU presidencies.
Two earlier documents on the Common Strategy were debated in European
Standing Committee B on 9 February 2000.
10.17 We note that, in his reply of 28 March 2002
to a letter from the Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee
on the European Union, the then Minister for Europe, Mr Peter
Hain, said that he could not predict the likelihood or otherwise
of the three existing Common Strategies being discontinued, though
he confirmed that there were no plans to introduce any new Common
Strategies. His successor makes no mention, in his Explanatory
Memorandum on this report, of discontinuing the Common Strategy
on Ukraine. We ask the Government to ensure that future implementation
reports are deposited and that an Explanatory Memorandum is submitted
10.18 We now clear this document.
Letter from the FCO considered by the Committee on 26 June 2002
and not reported. Back
Report, European Standing
Committee B, 9 February 2000. Back