At the invitation of Sweden presiding over the EU Council, Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, took part in a meeting of EU European Affairs Ministers during the EU General Affairs Council's meeting.
The ministers paid special attention to the reform process necessary for further advancement towards EU membership, noting the progress made by Ukraine. Olha Stefanishyna stressed that the Ukrainian Government had a clear vision of how to fully implement all seven steps outlined by the European Commission.
"We are currently at the final stage of implementing the 7 recommendations. We are working closely with the experts of the European Commission and the Council of Europe at all levels to ensure proper implementation of reforms. We are committed to dynamic and high-quality reforms, as we understand that achieving each of the criteria is vital not only for Ukraine's further accession to the EU, but also for the country's progress and sustainable development," Olha Stefanishyna said.
The participants of the meeting discussed the preparation of the spring interim assessment of Ukraine's progress and the start of the EU accession negotiations.
"We hope that the Swedish presidency will give a start to the decision to start negotiations with Ukraine at the end of this year. This is extremely important to ensure the recovery and reconstruction of our country as a future EU member," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Olha Stefanishyna also called on European partners to help Ukraine develop its public sector capacities in view of the intensive process of preparing our country for the accession negotiations. In particular, this month the Government has launched a process to assess Ukrainian legislation, which will result in a national programme for the adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to EU law. The ministers expressed their support for Ukraine's efforts and willingness to work together in this area.
They also discussed further steps towards Ukraine's sectoral integration and long-term trade liberalisation. Ministers reaffirmed their support for Ukraine on its path to full integration into the European Union's Internal Market for the period up to EU membership.
"Ukraine is determined to become part of the EU's Internal Market in all key sectors as soon as possible. This will ensure that our country achieves the membership criteria in general," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Olha Stefanishyna thanked the European Ministers for their countries' decision to allocate EUR 2 billion for the purchase and delivery of artillery ammunition to Ukraine. The previous day, the EU had agreed on a relevant comprehensive initiative in Brussels.
The Deputy Prime Minister expressed hope that such meetings of the General Affairs Council with Ukraine's participation would become a regular practice, noting the importance of exchanging information on the reform process and the steps Ukraine is taking to integrate into the EU.