Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba held the first meeting with Deputy Ministers responsible for European integration. Each ministry and agency engage in implementation of objectives in each particular direction to carry out obligations under the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, and it is those deputy ministers responsible for coordinating their timely and efficient implementation at the level of the ministries.
During the meeting, the participants discussed the format of cooperation and priority objectives, in particular, the preparation for the EU-Ukraine Association Committee’s and Council’s meetings in Brussels in November and December, respectively.
The EU-Ukraine Association Committee meeting, due to take place on November 5 with the participation of the deputy ministers, will be used as a platform to discuss priority cooperation issues with the EU for further consideration within the framework of the Association Council. The objectives are as follows: strengthening cooperation on justice, freedom and security (key components - integrated border management, cybersecurity and judicial cooperation); economic cooperation, in particular in the context of macro-financial assistance, tax and customs reform, cooperation with OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office); sectoral cooperation and particular priorities for sectoral integration with the EU, in particular with energy markets; joint monitoring of the implementation of the Association Agreement, further updating of the annexes to the Agreement, taking into account the dynamics of the development of EU law and Ukraine’s sectoral integration priorities, etc.
Dmytro Kuleba stressed that the core agency coordinating the work of all ministries and agencies in this area is the Government Office for Coordination of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration (GO), which is a body within the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and commissioned to establish appropriate cooperation with that. Moreover, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed the importance of cooperation with the Ukrainian side of the civil society platform, adding that its participants have a high level of expertise and that their experience can become crucial support for the authorities in meeting by Ukraine of its European integration obligations.
The Deputy Prime Minister told about the plans to set up European integration offices in the regions, noting that opening offices with a focus on eastern and southern regions of Ukraine should promote " European integration decentralization". Offices will become regional institutions responsible for European integration at the local level. They will help to attract projects of transport and border infrastructure, to leverage foreign investment and EU assistance to the regions of Ukraine; facilitate the development of European regions, implementation of twinning initiatives; to ensure maximum involvement of regions in EU educational, scientific, cultural projects/programs; to provide support for small and medium-sized businesses in regions, including from the EU side. According to Dmytro Kuleba, an interagency working group will be set up soon to implement the aforesaid initiative.
The Deputy Prime Minister added the GO was working on updating the Pulse of the Agreement online monitoring system to open it for the public this year. The system was designed to track the progress of the implementation of the Agreement in each particular area. Dmytro Kuleba called on representatives of the ministries to engage in updating and reviewing information in each area, taking into account the reorganization of ministries and the corresponding change of tasks.
The Government’s top official urged the deputy ministers to act responsibly in the process of implementation of duties to comply with European integration objectives, to develop a result-oriented approach, and to establish and maintain close cooperation with relevant committees of the Verkhovna Rada, as it is now critical to preserve a high pace of adoption of European integration laws. Dmytro Kuleba reminded that the Verkhovna Rada of the new convocation had already adopted 13 European integration bills.