President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a meeting with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.
Following the meeting, the President informed journalists that he had discussed the situation in Donbas and the implementation of the Minsk agreements with the European Commissioner. There has been no shooting in Donbas for 44 hours already, which provides certain optimism regarding future developments, as stated by the President.
The parties discussed cooperation between Ukraine and the EU, particularly coordination of information activity on countering the massive disinformation campaign of the Russian party.
The parties called the attempt to organize fake illegal elections in Donbas on October 18 and November 1 the main threat to the Minsk process. Petro Poroshenko expressed common position: “Elections in Donbas must be held under the Ukrainian legislation and the OSCE procedures, they must be approved and confirmed by the international observers in conditions that will ensure free expression of will of citizens. It is essential to ensure the activity of the Ukrainian parties, the access to the media, the principle of freedom of assembly, the absence of armed people on the streets, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian territory and the establishment of control over the uncontrolled area of the Ukraine-Russian border.
“In case these “red lines” are crossed, we will need transatlantic unity and solidarity with Ukraine,” Petro Poroshenko noted.
The parties discussed coordination of actions on the liberation of hostages held captives in the occupied territories and Russia. The President emphasized the importance of a clear and strict demand of the European Parliament’s Resolution to liberate all Ukrainian patriots immediately.
The President informed the European Commissioner on the program of decisive reforms currently held by Ukraine “to make our country stronger and more European”. He particularly mentioned decentralization, judicial reform, anti-corruption activities, establishment of favorable business climate and tax reform.
The President reminded that on September 16, it will be a year since the ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU by the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. “I am hopeful that we will finish this ratification marathon soon and the Parliaments of Cyprus and Greece will help us with that,” Petro Poroshenko said.
Petro Poroshenko thanked Johannes Hahn for his personal support for Ukraine and conveyed sincere gratitude to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker for his speech in the European Parliament, which delivered clear and positive messages that motivate Ukraine to accelerate reforms, inter alia, on the visa-free regime. “In your face, we feel the position of a true partner and friend of Ukraine,” the Head of State emphasized.
Johannes Hahn stressed that the EU is determined to further support Ukraine. The European Commissioner noted positive progress of Ukraine. “I am really impressed by Ukraine’s serious reform efforts and incredible progress that has been achieved despite extremely difficult circumstances and the external threat Ukraine is facing,” he said. Johannes Hahn believes that in order to accelerate the given process, the Ukrainian authorities and the European Commission must “step up the efforts”.
Speaking of the situation in Donbas, the European Commissioner emphasized the importance of fulfilling the Minsk agreements by all the parties. “The EU upholds the activity of the TCG, the Normandy format and the OSCE SMM. The agreement on the ceasefire of September 1 is an example of substantial direct local influence of the Minsk peace process,” he noted.
In this context, Johannes Hahn also mentioned the issue of holding the elections in Donbas. “We all expect that the elections in eastern Ukraine will meet the Ukrainian legislation and be free, open and transparent,” the European Commissioner said.
Johannes Hahn commended the approval of constitutional amendments in the first reading. “I hope that after the outbreak of violence further implementation will be continued in a hopefully peaceful way. Decentralization process is key for the modernization of the country, the improvement of public governance and the country’s further democratic transformation,” he stressed.
The European Commissioner noted that full introduction of the Association and DCFTA Agreement on January 2016 will provide Ukraine with complete access to the EU and global markets. “Ukraine will face new opportunities that will promote further advancement in this direction,” he said.
Speaking of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU, Johannes Hahn expressed hope for the positive report on the fulfillment of the visa regime liberalization plan. “There is some work to be done to draft the report, but it is pretty real to my mind,” the Commissioner noted.
Johannes Hahn assured that the EU supports Ukraine and is willing to help Ukrainians build a European state.