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Relations between Ukraine and the European Union
Relations between Ukraine and the European Union were established in December 1991, when the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as the EU Presidency, on behalf of the Union officially recognized the independence of Ukraine.
The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Ukraine and the EU (PCA) signed on 16 June 1994 (entered into force on 1 March 1998) constitutes the legal base of the EU-Ukraine relations and establishes cooperation on a wide range of political, trade, economic and humanitarian issues. The main objectives of the PCA are to develop close relations by means of permanent dialogue on political issues, to provide an appropriate framework for political dialogue, to promote trade and investment between the parties, to provide a basis for mutually advantageous economic, social, financial, civil, scientific, technological and cultural co-operation and to support Ukrainian efforts to consolidate its democracy, to develop its economy and complete the transition to a market economy.
At present there are 7 priorities of the EU-Ukraine cooperation envisaged by the PCA's framework: energy, trade and investments, justice and home affairs, adaptation of the Ukrainian legislation to that of the EU, environment, transport, trans-border cooperation, collaboration in the sphere of science, technology and outer space.
The EU-Ukraine dialogue is carried out through annual meetings of the EU-Ukraine Summit with the participation of the President of Ukraine; Cooperation Council with the participation of the Prime-Minister of Ukraine; Cooperation Committee; Committee on parliamentary cooperation; regular Ukraine-EU Triyka meetings; permanent expert consultations. The EU and Ukraine annually hold more than 80 different official meetings and consultations at the high and expert levels.
Remaining outside the EU borders, Ukraine has successfully associated with the realization of the EU Common Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). Our state takes part in the EU Police Missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The EU also recognizes an important role of Ukraine in providing security and stability on the continent as well as its vast industrial and technological potential in the military sphere. The practice of inviting Ukraine to military training with the participation of the EU units is a clear confirmation of that.
The EU-Ukraine trade and economic cooperation has recently experienced notable intensification. From year to year the bilateral foreign trade turnover and direct EU investment in the Ukrainian economy are constantly increasing. Today the EU is the largest foreign trade partner of Ukraine (the share of the EU in the foreign trade of Ukraine reached 33% upon the accession to the Union of new ten Members-States).
The EU-Ukraine cooperation in the sphere of justice and home affairs, in particular on the issues of granting asylum, border management, fight against money laundering and illegal drug trafficking is consistently strengthening.
In the context of the EU enlargement Ukraine strives to prevent the creation of new dividing lines in Europe and advocates non-discriminatory approach to the regime of movement of its citizens across the territory of the EU Member States. The work in this direction in particular includes: perspective introduction of long-term multiply visas for the citizens of Ukraine who take part in economic, cultural and sports exchanges with the EU on a permanent basis; simplification of visa regime for citizens of Ukraine - border areas inhabitants and in the long-term prospect - facilitation of visa regime for all categories of the Ukrainians.
Ukraine and the EU proceed with dynamic cooperation in the sphere of energy, including the nuclear one, agriculture and environment. The EU political and financial assistance to Ukraine in addressing the most urgent problems in the energy sector as well as in eliminating the consequences of the Chornobyl catastrophe is gradually increasing.
The EU has also provided support for reforming the control system of the Ukrainian gas-transporting system, holding technical audit of the oil terminal "Pivdennyi" and technical and economic assessment of the project of transportation of the Caspian oil by Odesa-Brody-Gdansk pipeline, development of the alternative energy and modernization of the coal industry etc.
The EU is the largest donor to Ukraine. Total assistance since 1991 in the framework of the TACIS program, macro financial and humanitarian assistance amounted to more that 1 billion euro.
The EU-Ukraine cooperation in the sphere of outer space is also very promising. On 2 September 2004 the European Commission sought Council approval for its recommendation to start negotiations on a cooperation agreement with Ukraine on the development of a Civil Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The cooperation is expected to cover research and scientific activities especially on standardisation issues, regional integrity monitoring and financial investment in GALILEO.
Today Ukraine sees its main task in consolidation of the European values and standards in political, economy and social spheres, regarding it as a pledge of its public stability and sustainable development.
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