Ukraine: European Neighbourhood Policy Country Progress Report 2014

Brussels, 25 March 2015

The 2015 ENP package “Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014” consists of a joint Communication and a set of country specific and regional reports. The report on Ukraine underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2014 and makes recommendations for the year to come.

Reforms were carried out in Ukraine in 2014 in a very difficult political, economic, social and military/security context of armed conflicts. The illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and the subsequent destabilisation of eastern Ukraine have been major challenges for the statehood and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The human rights situation of people living in Crimea and Sevastopol after the illegal annexation and in the areas controlled by illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine worsened drastically. The number of internally displaced persons and refugees increased and exceeds today one million. Ukraine’s capacities for humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons proved to be insufficient.

Despite these threats and challenges Ukraine continued its democratic transition process. Presidential and Parliamentary elections were conducted, largely in compliance with EU and international standards. The law on public prosecution and several anti-corruption laws were adopted. Work has started on judicial reform and on law enforcement; several proposals were discussed but new legislation was not yet adopted. In July the EU set up the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Reform (EUAM Ukraine) to assist the country in reforming its civilian security sector, including the rule of law and the police.

Civil society has been developing quickly in Ukraine.

The process of decentralising competences was launched, notably on the amalgamation of municipalities and on budget decentralisation.

Ukraine intensified its cooperation with the EU: Ukraine signed the political provisions of the Association Agreement (AA) on 21 March 2014 and the provisions of the remaining parts on 27 June 2014, respectively. On 16 September 2014, the Association Agreement was ratified by the Ukrainian Parliament and consent was given by the European Parliament, enabling the provisional application of the relevant provisions of the Association Agreement as of 1 November 2014 and the DCFTA-part as of 1 January 2016. Ukraine adopted a number of important legislative reforms to address the benchmarks of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. As a consequence, Ukraine passed to the second phase of the implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan.

Ukraine’s economic output contracted in 2014 as a result of deep-rooted macroeconomic and structural weaknesses. The situation was significantly aggravated by the worsening security situation. Exports to the EU compensated for the decline of Ukrainian trade with the Russian Federation.

On the basis of the Country Progress Report, several actions are recommended to Ukraine for the coming year, amongst others:

– ensuring that the constitutional review is carried out and completed in an inclusive and participatory way; adopting and implementing laws introducing decentralisation reforms;

– taking steps towards harmonisation of all electoral legislation; with a first priority given to the revision of the law on local elections, since they are planned for the second half of 2015;

– taking additional steps on judicial reform in line with European standards and in close consultation with the Council of Europe/Venice Commission; ensuring that the lustration processes in the executive and in the judiciary are in line with the relevant international standards;

– duly implementing the comprehensive anti-corruption legal package;

– starting comprehensive reform of the public administration, and in particular the civil service and service in local self-government bodies;

– in close cooperation with the EU Advisory Mission, adopting and implementing a plan for police reform;

– aligning energy legislation and practice with the ‘Third Energy Package’;

– continuing to investigate independently the violent acts which occurred during civil protests between November 2013 and February 2014, as well as the tragic events in Odessa in May 2014, with the support of the International Advisory Panel proposed by the Council of Europe.

Source: europa.eu

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