EU reiterated its determination to address Ukraine’s pressing military and defence needs and its commitment to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

On 20 March 2024, the European Union and Ukraine held the 9th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council in Brussels under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

The Association Council reiterated its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine, which constitutes a manifest violation of the UN Charter. The EU commended the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people and its leadership in their fight to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom of Ukraine. The EU underlined its unwavering commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against Russian aggression and to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future.

The Association Council strongly condemned Russia’s holding of presidential elections in the territories of Ukraine that Russia has temporarily occupied and stressed that it will not recognise their holding nor their results in the temporarily occupied by Russia parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine. The EU also reiterated its support for Ukraine’s Peace Formula, with a view to a future Global Peace Summit.

The Association Council welcomed the overall support provided by the EU and its Member States of almost EUR 98 billion since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, including EUR 33,1 billion of military assistance. It welcomed also the training provided for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the EU Military Assistance Mission.

Both sides welcomed the setting up of the Ukraine Facility with EUR 50 billion for 2024-27 as a visible sign of the EU’s steadfast support. The Facility will contribute to the recovery, reconstruction and modernisation of the country, and foster social cohesion and progressive integration into the Union. Ukraine notably welcomed the first payment of EUR 4,5 billion in the form of bridge financing under the Ukraine Facility. The European Union welcomed the submission of the Ukraine Plan, which will guide the implementation of the Ukraine Facility.

The Association Council welcomed the creation of the Ukraine Assistance Fund, a EUR 5 billion envelope under the European Peace Facility, which will ensure the provision of both lethal and non-lethal military equipment and training to Ukraine. Further comparable annual increases could be envisaged until 2027.

The EU reiterated its determination to address Ukraine’s pressing military and defence needs (including delivery of ammunition and missiles, notably given the commitment to provide Ukraine with one million rounds of artillery ammunition) and its commitment to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Ukraine expressed its appreciation for initiatives of EU member states and partner countries for supporting the very timely procurement and immediate delivery to Ukraine of artillery ammunition.

The Association Council highlighted the strategic importance of reinforcing the European defence industrial base and cooperation with the Ukrainian Defence industry, a cooperation which has to be in line with modalities to be agreed upon and take into account the security and defence interests of all Member States.

Ukraine welcomed the successful EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM) including the new goal to train 20,000 more Ukrainian soldiers.

The Association Council emphasized the historic decision of the European Council of December 2023 to open EU accession negotiations with Ukraine. It stressed that the future of Ukraine and its citizens lies within the European Union. The EU recalled that the progress of Ukraine towards the EU will depend on its merit, taking into consideration the EU’s capacity to absorb new members. The Council acknowledged Ukraine’s commitment and commended the substantial progress made towards meeting the objectives underpinning Ukraine’s candidate status, even though Ukraine is fighting against Russia’s war of aggression. Ukraine called upon the political will of the EU Member States to adopt the negotiation framework as soon as possible and to organize the First Intergovernmental Conference.

Ukraine expressed its appreciation for the thirteen packages of EU restrictive measures and the Council reiterated that work will continue on sanctions, including strengthening implementation and preventing circumvention.

The Association Council welcomed the establishment of the Council of Europe’s Register of Damage caused by the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and highlighted EU financial support to this initiative which constitutes the first tangible step towards a future compensation mechanism and encouraged further efforts towards its establishment. The EU underlined that it continues working on further progress on the possible use of revenues generated from immobilised Russian Central Bank assets to support Ukraine, by EU and international law.

The Association Council stressed the firm commitment that Russia and its leadership must be held fully accountable for waging a war of aggression against Ukraine, and other most serious crimes under international law.

The EU also underlined its solidarity and commitment to further enable Ukraine to counter hybrid and cyber threats strengthening Ukraine’s cybersecurity and resilience of 5G networks, in line with the NIS2 Directive and the EU 5G Cybersecurity Toolbox, as well as the continued engagement on countering foreign information manipulation and interference. Both sides underlined the importance of conducting the third round of the Cyber Dialogue in 2024 reaffirming their determination to further enhance cooperation in the cyber field.

The EU underlined that it remained committed to contributing, for the long term and together with partners, to security commitments to Ukraine, which will help Ukraine to defend itself, deter acts of aggression and resist destabilisation efforts in the future.

Ukraine welcomed the proposal of the first European Defence Industrial Strategy, which could offer a platform for Ukraine’s participation in the European Union initiatives. Ukraine welcomed the initiative to establish the EU Office for Defence Innovation in Kyiv to further support the Ukrainian Defence Technological and Industrial Base and expressed readiness to work closely with the EU to ensure its swift implementation.

Ukraine voiced its interest in deepening practical mutually beneficial cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) as well as intensifying the process of integration into the sphere of EU space activities by joining the EU Space Programme.

The EU highlighted the contribution of the EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine to support Ukraine’s civilian security sector reform in line with the EU accession agenda, accountability efforts, as well as law enforcement in liberated and adjacent territories.

The Association Council reiterated the EU’s strong commitment to Ukraine’s repair, and recovery compatible with climate-neutral goals, reconstruction and modernisation. It welcomed the progress made in matching donor support with budgetary and priority recovery needs identified and the EU underlined its readiness to continue playing a leading role in supporting Ukraine together with partners, including the regional cooperation dimension.

The Association Council took note of the state of play of implementation of the Association Agreement and agreed to maximise the opportunities it offers to ensure gradual integration into selected EU policies, already before accession. The Association Council welcomed the progress achieved in comprehensive and consistent implementation of the rule of law and judicial and public administration reforms and encourages Ukraine to continue decisively on this path, which remains vital for strengthening Ukraine’s resilience and its EU accession path.

Ukraine signalled its willingness for Ukraine’s join the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) as an observer. Both sides agreed to advance further the discussion given its swift finalisation.

The Association Council also welcomed progress in the implementation of the Priority Action Plan for Enhanced Implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between Ukraine and the EU for 2023-2024, including in the areas of roaming and free circulation for certain industrial goods, and noted the more than doubling bilateral trade flow since the provisional entry into force in 2016 of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. In this regard, the Association Council reiterated the importance of the implementation of Ukraine’s commitments in electronic communications, including the roaming-related acquis and progress towards mutual recognition of electronic trust services with the EU. The Association Council welcomed the signature of a joint statement by telecom operators based in the EU and in Ukraine on their coordinated efforts to secure and stabilise affordable or free roaming and international calls between the EU and Ukraine.

Ukraine voiced its interest in re-launching the consultations on accelerating and broadening the scope of the elimination of customs duties on bilateral trade in line with Article 29(4) of the Association Agreement.

Ukraine welcomed the EU’s support to trade and economy, particularly the European Commission’s proposal to prolong the EU temporary suspension of all customs duties on imports from Ukraine into the EU for another year until June 2025, which together with the EU Solidarity Lanes are essential to keep the bilateral trade afloat. The EU commended Ukraine’s efforts to keep grain flowing to the global markets and the establishment of the Black Sea Corridor.

Ukraine reiterated the importance of ensuring the correct implementation of the mutually beneficial Agreement on the Carriage of Freight by Road and its prolongation for the 2024-2025 period.

The Association Council stressed the importance of further strengthening the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes that are essential for Ukraine’s imports and exports of a wide range of goods and for long-term improved connectivity between Ukraine and the EU. Ukraine welcomed the cooperation between Ukraine, the EC and the EU Member States within the framework of the Joint Coordination Platform on the Export and Transit of Ukrainian Agricultural Products.

The Association Council noted the fulfilment by Ukraine of all technical requirements for the completion of the process of synchronization of the Ukrainian and European energy systems and acquisition of full membership in ENTSO-E.

The EU underlined its determination to continue to support Ukraine’s energy sector, including by delivering the needed energy-related supplies, equipment and emergency assistance as well as facilitating cross-border electricity trade, enhancing energy efficiency and speeding up the deployment of renewable energy. The EU will continue its humanitarian and civil protection assistance in Ukraine.

The Association Council welcomed the interest of Ukraine for involvement in the EU policy and welcomed the signature of the Arrangement for cooperation on health between the European Commission and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

The meeting was co-chaired by Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine and Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.


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