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  • Olha Stefanishyna: Ukraine’s real Euro-Atlantic integration began after the NATO Summit in Vilnius
    Service of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, posted 18 December 2023 22:12

    Ukraine’s real Euro-Atlantic integration began after the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July 2023 – before that, it was cooperation within the framework of partnership. This was stated by Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, during a public briefing organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania with the participation of NATO ambassadors and representatives of think tanks on Monday, 18 December.

    The event focused on the implementation of the decisions of the Vilnius NATO Summit and expectations for the upcoming meeting of the Alliance leaders in Washington in 2024. Participants also discussed the most important reforms envisaged as part of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration process and the importance of implementing the adapted Annual National Programme.

    “The difference between the reality before the Vilnius Summit and after it is that before the Summit, everything related to our Euro-Atlantic integration was mostly based on the framework of cooperation, collaboration, various formats, the Enhanced Opportunities Partnership (EOP) format, etc. After the Vilnius Summit, the real process of Euro-Atlantic integration began. Therefore, after Vilnius, we focused on implementing the decisions and launching the formats agreed at the Summit,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

    According to her, the sustainable work of the NATO-Ukraine Council at all levels was ensured, and the programme and structure of the Council’s work for 2024 was approved, which corresponds to the existing working formats of the Alliance. In particular, the body has become a reliable mechanism for crisis consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty. The first meeting within the framework of the platform took place on 12 July 2023 on the sidelines of the Vilnius Summit at the level of heads of state and government, after which Ukraine and NATO established a number of joint committees and working groups for active and meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual interest.

    In addition, following the Summit, Ukraine prepared and presented an adapted Annual National Programme (aANP) for 2024, as well as priority projects under NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) for Ukraine.

    “We are approaching the end of the year with the understanding that all the agreements reached on the sidelines of the Vilnius Summit have been fulfilled. We are starting to work on the implementation of those transformation areas that were agreed upon for the next year within the ANP. We are also setting expectations for the next meeting of leaders in Washington. At the same time, our paradigm is that we are already acting as NATO allies. We feel this on the basis of individual interaction with our allies, through interaction with NATO Headquarters, the work of the NATO-Ukraine Council and reforms in this area. That is why Ukraine will continue to act as an ally until it actually becomes an ally,” Olha Stefanishyna concluded.

    She expressed special gratitude to the allies who had made a lot of efforts to create the necessary basis for the decisions that Ukraine was able to implement after Vilnius. She also thanked Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to Ukraine Valdemaras Sarapinas, the Embassy of Lithuania, for convening the briefing shortly after the European Council’s decision to start negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

    This decision has become a powerful signal to many European and transatlantic capitals that Ukraine is not slowing down in its reforms, that Ukraine’s commitment is not diminishing, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.

    For her part, the Head of the NATO Representation to Ukraine, Karen McTear, noted that in the six months since the Vilnius Summit, significant progress had been made in the framework of cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance.

    According to the Head of the NATO Representation to Ukraine, the NATO-Ukraine Council is already working at different levels, and has already proven to be a very politically strong format for NATO and Ukraine, where the parties can sit as equals at the negotiating table and make decisions aimed at achieving progress.

    She also stressed the importance of the adapted ANP as a strategic document that would drive the reform process in Ukraine.