Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Ukraine

On 10 February, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted the following conclusions on Ukraine:

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative, presiding on the Council sitting
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative, presiding on the Council sitting

1.  The EU follows with deep concern the situation and the continuing political crisis in Ukraine and remains ready to respond quickly to any deterioration on the ground. The Council is alarmed by the human rights situation, including violence, cases of missing persons, torture and intimidation and deplores the deaths and injuries sustained on all sides. The Council calls on all actors to refrain from violence and dissociate themselves from radical actions. The authorities should undertake all necessary measures to respect and protect the Ukrainian citizens’ fundamental rights. Any demonstrations should be pursued by peaceful means. The continuous cases of deliberate targeting of organisers and participants of peaceful protests as well as of journalists must immediately be stopped. The Council continues to urge the authorities to duly investigate all acts of violence in a transparent and impartial manner and bring the perpetrators to justice. The current atmosphere of impunity which allows for such acts to take place must be addressed. The EU also encourages the Government of Ukraine to appoint its member of the Council of Europe Investigation Advisory Panel without delay.

2.  The Council welcomes the recent steps, in particular the decision of the Verkhovna Rada on 28 January to revoke the laws which unduly restricted the exercise of fundamental freedoms. Further efforts are necessary to find a durable solution to the current political crisis. The EU urges all sides to seek, through an inclusive dialogue, a democratic solution that would meet the aspirations of the Ukrainian people. The EU invites Ukraine to reach out for international mechanisms for crisis resolution. A new and inclusive government, constitutional reform bringing back more balance of powers, and preparations for free and fair presidential elections would contribute to bringing Ukraine back on a sustainable path of reforms. The EU stands ready to provide expert support in all areas judged useful and encourages Ukraine also to draw on the expertise of international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the United Nations. The EU appreciates the effort of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and its offer of support.

3. The EU remains committed to supporting Ukraine’s reform course. On the basis of a new Ukrainian Government pursuing economic and political reforms, the EU is ready to further pursue its efforts with the international community and international financial institutions to assist Ukraine, in line with well-established conditions, to find a sustainable way out of its difficult economic situation. The Council invites the High Representative and the Commission to continue efforts to this end.

4.  The Council commends the High Representative’s and the Commission’s tireless efforts to facilitate dialogue between actors in Ukraine. The EU will remain actively engaged with Ukraine and maintain its high level presence, in order to assist the stakeholders in their efforts to stabilise the situation and to bring Ukraine out of the current crisis.

5.  Recalling its conclusions of 10 December 2012 and of the European Council of 19-20 December 2013, the Council reiterates its commitment to signing the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, as soon as Ukraine is ready. The Council emphasizes the right of all sovereign states to make their own foreign policy decisions without undue external pressure. The Council expresses its conviction that this Agreement does not constitute the final goal in EU-Ukraine cooperation.